In a film series, the second is the most important. It is a litmus test of two important questions: 1. Is there an audience appetite for the sequel? and 2. Is there enough of a narrative to warrant a second movie?
Toy Story 2 (1999) is the second tale within the Toy Story franchise. After Woody (Tom Hanks) is stolen by a toy collector, it is up to his friends to save him. While Buzz Lightyear (Tim Allen) works on the outside to free Woody, Woody makes friends on the inside. Jessie (Joan Cusack) is a cowgirl and a part of the wild west line of playthings.
I enjoyed Toy Story 2. It has everything that made its predecessor great and then some. It is funny, entertaining, and suspenseful, and the addition of the new characters provides enough stretch to make the story plausible.
Subversive comedy is in my mind, the best kind of comedy. While we are laughing, the gears in our brains are turning, bringing up questions that we might not otherwise ask.
Addams Family Values (1993) is the sequel to the 1991 film, The Addams Family. Gomez and Morticia Addams (the late Raul Julia and Angelica Houston) have just added a third bundle of joy to the family. Their elder children, Wednesday (Christina Ricci) and Pugsley (Jimmy Workman) are not exactly pleased to have a new baby brother. In the usual Addams Family style, they do everything they can do to get rid of him.
As many parents have done before them and will do after them, Gomez and Morticia hire a nanny to help with their little one. Debbie Jellinsky (Joan Cusack) is supposed to take care of the baby. But while she is doing this, she is pretending to fall for Fester (Christopher Lloyd). The rest of his family knows that her feelings for her new fiance are merely an act. Can they stop her and reveal her true intentions before it is too late?
I was a preteen when this film was initially released, so some of the humor was above my head at the time. But looking at it with adult eyes, I find myself laughing. My favorite scenes are the ones in which the kids are at camp. When they dramatize the first Thanksgiving and delightfully shock the audience of white upper-class parents.
Stepping out of our comfort zone is often easier said than done. Especially when you want something, but it seems impossible.
In the 2005 movie, Ice Princess (based on a story by Meg Cabot), Casey (Michelle Trachtenberg) is a brain with a capital B. A bookworm who never quite fits in with her classmates, Casey dreams of becoming a championship figure skater. But her mother, Joan (Joan Cusack) has visions of her daughter climbing up the academic track. Casey wants to be like Gen (Hayden Panettiere), the popular girl who has some serious ice skating skills and an attitude to match. Gen’s mother, Tina (Kim Cattrall), a former figure skater, offers to train both girls.
Casey is faced with two seemingly impossible obstacles: disappointing her mother and training without the support of those around her. The only one who believes in her is Teddy (Trevor Blumas), Gen’s brother. Will Casey achieve her dream or she is doomed to failure?
Is Ice Princess just a tad too predictable? Without a doubt. But it has the timeless message of going after what you want, even if it seems impossible.