Impossible missions

Don’t let go of that plane, Tom!

Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching the Mission: Impossible films, with Tom Cruise as super-agent Ethan Hunt. This is considered to be a rarity among movie franchises in that most people think the series got progressively better. I’m not so sure. The later offerings (and the series is still ongoing) have been slicker productions and more expensive but they’ve also been more generic. They have nevertheless, always been entertaining in a Hollywood blockbuster sort of way. Here’s the line-up:

Mission: Impossible (1996)
Mission: Impossible II (2000)
Mission: Impossible III (2006)
Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011)
Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation (2015)
Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018)

Falling down, falling down

Does the name Mike Banning ring a bell? You’d be forgiven for finding it the generic and forgettable name of a Hollywood action hero, which is the Mike Banning I’m thinking of. He’s the presidential bodyguard played by Gerard Butler in the trilogy Olympus Has Fallen (2013), London Has Fallen (2016), and Angel Has Fallen (2019). There are plans for more but I think I’ve had enough. Already I have trouble telling them apart. The perfectly generic and forgettable vehicles for a Mike Banning.

Kids in the corn

Just a kid. Looking out of the corn.

Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching the almost totally undistinguished Children of the Corn movies. I say “almost” because the first movie isn’t bad, and in later episodes you can catch Charlize Theron’s debut and Naomi Watts in a leading role before she was a star. But mostly these movies are awful, which shouldn’t be surprising as they were being produced by the same company driving the Hellraiser franchise into the ground. Apparently Stephen King didn’t even keep track of how many there were. Though I guess he was getting paid since he usually received a credit for coming up with the title of the series (if nothing else).

Bottom line: the first movie is still worth seeing, but I would avoid all the others.

Children of the Corn (1984)
Children of the Corn II: The Final Sacrifice (1992)
Children of the Corn III: Urban Harvest (1995)
Children of the Corn: The Gathering (1996)
Children of the Corn V: Fields of Terror (1998)
Children of the Corn 666: Isaac’s Return (1999)
Children of the Corn VII: Revelation (2001)
Children of the Corn: Genesis (2011)

On the road again and again

Over at Alex on Film I’ve been watching a bunch of movies about people racing cars around. Not on a racetrack, but across country. For cash prizes or treasure. For a while in the late ’70s and early ’80s these were a thing, especially if they were directed by Hal Needham and starred Burt Reynolds. I guess the Fast and the Furious franchise today is the only direct inheritor, but it’s morphed into something else now. Leaving these movies alone in their nostalgic goofiness. Watching them again was a very fast trip down memory lane, but I’m pretty sure it will be my last with any of them.

It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963)
Smokey and the Bandit (1977)
Scavenger Hunt (1979)
Smokey and the Bandit II (1980)
The Cannonball Run (1981)