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Worst to First: Ranking the Sequels of 1988

For the last couple of weeks, we have talking about some of the best movies 1988 had to offer.  But before you find yourself waxing nostalgic about how they don’t make ’em like they used to, here’s a little reminder that Hollywood made just as much crap thirty years ago as they do today.  If you’re looking for bad movies, sequels are usually a pretty good bet.  As it turns out, 1988 was one of the worst years for sequels I have ever seen.

19. Caddyshack II

Rotten Tomato Score: 4%

Domestic Gross: $11,798,302

Place in Franchise: 2 of 2

Years Since Last Movie: 8

Actors Replaced: Just Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight but who would miss those guys when you’ve got Dan Aykroyd, Jackie Mason and Robert Stack?

Summary: This is a case of a studio relentlessly pursuing a sequel to a hit movie that should have been a one-and-done.  The original Caddyshack was cowritten and directed by Harold Ramis who had no interest in making a follow-up.  Eventually, Ramis relented when Warner Brothers pitched the idea of centering the movie on Rodney Dangerfield’s character.  Ramis had a relationship with Dangerfield from the first movie and Back to School which he cowrote and produced.  According to Ramis:

Rodney said, ‘Come on, do it.’ Then the classic argument came up which says that if you don’t do it, someone will, and it will be really bad. So I worked on a script with my partner Peter Torokvei, consulting with Rodney all the time. Then Rodney got into a fight with the studio over his contract and backed out.

When Dangerfield pulled out, Ramis quit and Warner Brothers fired their director-of-choice, Alan Metter (the director of Back to School).  Other writers were brought in to finish the script and Allan Arkush, the director of beloved classics like Heartbeeps and Get Crazy, was brought in to direct.  Warner Brothers actually sued Dangerfield for dropping out of the picture.  They were seeking a court injunction to prevent him from appearing in other movies until the suit was settled.

They were the lucky ones.  Chevy Chase, the only actor from the original movie to return for the sequel, later admitted he regretted being talked into it.  Ramis tried to have his name removed from Caddyshack II, but the studio was worried it would hurt the movie if he disassociated from it.  The sequel was nominated for four Golden Raspberry awards of which it won two including Worst Supporting Actor for Aykroyd.

Objectively, Caddyshack II is a bad movie.  But if you’re a fan of the original, the sequel is a sacrilege.  This list includes a lot of lousy follow-ups to movies that were not that good to begin with.  But Caddyshack was a legitimately funny movie.  The drop in quality is steep!

Next: Braddock: Missing in Action III

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Posted on January 16, 2018, in Movies, sequels, Worst to First and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 25 Comments.

  1. None of the sequels were anywhere near great. A few were passable. I did like Rambo III better than First Blood Part 2, because it wasn’t overrun with all the jingoism that was so prevalent in that one.

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    • My memories of Rambo III are very vague. My brother was a huge Stallone fan at the time. He couldn’t find anyone who wanted to see Rambo III with him, so he offered to pay my way in. I went, but I fell asleep. It just wasn’t my bag.

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      • Right. Although I did like it better, It’s not a movie I feel the urge to go back to. Of the four Ramboes, First Blood is the only one I re-visit every once in a while.

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        • I never got around to watching the 4th one. Heard it was off the charts violent. I’ll catch bits of the second one and watch along for a while to kind of laugh at it. The first one, for the most part, is a pretty good movie. But Stallone’s speech at the end is a howler.

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        • You are correct about it being off the charts in terms of violence. It wasn’t the comic book violence of the 2nd and third either. It was stretch that R rating violence. I’d rank it lower than First Blood and very slightly ahead of III. But on the whole, Rambo could’ve stayed retired. Yeah, the speech at the end of First Blood is one aspect that should’ve been left out. It did indicate that jingoistic cartoon direction the series would take from that point on. ,

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  2. The only sequel in this whole thing that I like is THE DEAD POOL. What a year of stinky sequels!

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  3. 2017 had 21 sequels in the top 50 of highest box office grossers.

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  4. Now this is a really thin crop of sequels. The Dead Pool is watchable, and some people find it at least better than the previous Dirty Harry film. I will probably get to Return to Snowy River some day, as I have always liked the first film in the series. Since I’m not really into horror films none of the horror franchise installments are familiar to me. And the remainder are mostly films that would induce me to turn the TV off if I stumbled into watching them—there aren’t even any of them that qualify as cheesy-fun movies.

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    • When I was a kid, I watched the edited-for-TV versions of all the Dirty Harry movies up to that point. I think by the time The Dead Pool was released, I had moved on from that phase. I know I have seen bits including the remote control car chase, but I don’t think I have ever sat down and watched it from beginning to end.

      As I said before, my brother dragged me to Rambo III and I think I have him to thank for Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street. I saw Hellraiser 2 because a couple friend from high school rented it and invited me over. I really wasn’t into horror movies, but somehow I ended up seeing a lot of them.

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  5. This might be the worst batch of sequels that I have ever seen – and the fact that they all come from the same year is mindboggling. I would agree with what a couple other readers stated before, The Dead Pool is the only film on this list that is at least watchable. Far from great, but at least watchable. Oh, that reminds me, the bandmembers of Guns N’ Roses make a quick cameo, in the funeral scene if I remember correctly. You cannot miss Slash’s black tophat in the crowd.

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  6. I have a deep, unbiding love for the original Arthur film; it’s such a sweetly charming comedy, and Dudley, Liza and John Gielgud are delightful in it, the Oscar wins and nominations (Gielgud, Dudley, Best Song and Screenplay) were all well earned in my eyes. Its one of those personal favorites that I always return to every few years. To be honest, I’ve always heard what a lousy movie Arthur 2: On The Rocks was and have just always avoided it like the plague. I figure why tarnish my appreciation for the original?

    Would it be hyperbole to suggest Caddyshack II is an atrocity on mankind? I caught maybe 20 or 30 minutes of it on cable once and could not subject myself to any more such torture. It’s just bad, really bad. It’s a lousy film on it’s own, but when you factor in that it’s a sequel to a stone-cold classic like the original, that gulf in quality makes it look like the worst thing ever. It makes me wonder, because I do notice that cable stations occasionally still run that piece of garbage sequel….. as one of the worst sequels ever made, shouldn’t the ratings for Caddyshack II be so abysmal that no cable station would ever air it again? Who possibly could be watching it on TBS or whatever to make them keep airing it all these years later? I cannot wrap my head around that one,

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    • Caddyshack II is an abomination. There was just no reason to do a sequel. What made the original movie work was the incredibly talented cast. If you replace Ted Knight, Rodney Dangerfield and Bill Murray, you are no longer making Caddyshack. Not to mention Harold Ramis. Not a lot of directors can hold together a movie as loosely structured as the first Caddyshack was. You can’t just pull some guy off the streets and expect him to male it work.

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      • I didn’t learn about the original plan for Ramis to write and Rodney Dangerfield to star until more recently, and I have to admit at least on paper I kinda do wish that had happened. Who knows, maybe it would have worked, maybe it wouldn’t have. But I do know that Dangerfield was on fire in the original Caddyshack. Also, nothing could ever be worse than the actual Caddyshack II that we got, so there’s that too. What do you think Lebeau, could a sequel starring Rodney, written by Ramis, have possibly worked? What’s your opinion on that?

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        • Back to School turned out all right. A Caddyshack 2 from the same writer, director and star could have been in the same ballpark as that movie. I have no doubt it would have been a big improvement over what we got.

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  7. The only good thing about CADDYSHACK II was Dyan Cannon. She was sexy in it. That’s it though. It has no other quality.

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