Monday, at a junket for his newest masterwork The Three Stooges, Peter Farrelly confirmed the sequel to his 1994 film Dumb and Dumber. Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels are both already signed on to continue the masterpiece of absurd comic oddity that is this franchise. And though some will argue Dumb and Dumberer already qualifies as legit sequel, Farrelly is quick to remind that's not the case.
We did not do 'Dumb and Dumberer,' Farrelly said. That was a studio thing. So we've always wanted to do a sequel and finally Jim called up. Jeff always wanted to do it. We always wanted to do it. Jim was busy, but he called and said, 'We've got to do this thing again.' He had just watched 'Dumb and Dumber' and he said, 'This is the perfect sequel. Let's do it.'
Clearly, Dumb and Dumber was one of the formative Hollywood films of Generation Y. It showed that ignorance could function as a relevant worldview, granted one had the passion to combat the general pragmatic offense of the body public. Harry and Lloyd succeeded in a caper of high-finance, crime, and espionage simply by engaging full-on matters of the heart. To see how this internal logic continued to function in opposition to Lloyd' and Harry's ultimately joyous, childlike worldview will no doubt ignite a new fire in the hearts of all those attempting to navigate a world still under the reign of cold, hard, terrifying logic.
Given this, I am prepared to add Dumb and Dumber 2 to the list of Best Sequels of All Time, months or even years ahead of its release. For comparison, here are the films Dumb and Dumber 2 will join, compiled painstakingly over years and years of scientific, critical scrutiny.
The Godfather: Part III Twenty years or so before American Gangster was common lexicon in American creative culture, Al Pacino and Diane Keaton were on tragically under-funded sets in Atlantic City and Italy, making sure Francis Ford Coppola's legacy was engraved in stone. This iteration of the Godfather story largely did away with all the nasty elements of the previous two movies, namely the icky violence, the hard-nosed gangsters, and the filthy sexing. What's left is perhaps *the* quintessential family film, as all that really drives Michael Corleone is the perpetuation of his family and legitimizing his crime. This 1990 absolute classic cast the coming decade as the era of the awesome sequel that was definitely a good idea and no matter what will go down in history as an amazing film.
Speed II: Cruise Control Since pushed into the public consciousness after September 11, 2001, terrorism has become a more and more relevant narrative mechanism in 2012. As it stands, only the lamestream media has really tapped into this market since its breakthrough. However, film viewers are able to consistently travel back in Hollywood's archives to appreciate the disruptive menace of terrorism as something relevant to how we interpret our cultural thrust nowadays. While films like the entire Die Hard or True Lies got this devastatingly wrong, it was the Keanu Reeves/Sandra Bullock masterpiece called Speed that really painted the issue realistically. In this second installment, the production team really ramped up the realism: a computer hacker sets the course of a cruise liner for collision with an oil tanker and there is no warning and no time and no way to stop it! It's such a fascinating scenario, one that legitimizes the collection of 12-plus VHS copies I have sitting on top of my toilet.
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull If the Transformers live-action boot couldn't convince America that Shia LeBouf was a total-hunky tough guy, then putting him on a motorcycle as resident rebellious prick named Mutt Willliams at Professor Indy's college definitely sealed the skinny kid's fate. That amazing bit of escapism maybe didn't sell everyone on this fourth installment in the Indiana Jones series. But scenes of death by giant ant swarm, regional atomization because of magical alien skulls, and the requisite unstoppable Nazi-like antagonists (actually Soviets here) certainly kept this film at the top of its class. This really isn't to mention the conflict of period with Harrison Ford's quickly weathering face, because don't mention that it might make things too unrealistic.
Basic Instinct 2 This 2006 beauty was absolutely brilliant, if only for being the first non-pornographic piece of film to use a pair of legs as the strict basis for pitching, screenwriting, funding, and narrative goal. How many times can we show Sharon Stone's legs in a potentially compromising position to her genitals without actually compromising her genitals this time? was probably a question that was asked daily at production meetings. Because let's be fair: Was Basic Instinct part one even a good film whatsoever? I don't think so. There was only that one interrogation scene where Sharon Stone's legs/genitals were the main focus and that one scene seemed like an accident. Anyway Basic Instinct 2 really hit the nail on the head.
Austin Powers in Goldmember Mike Meyers, as a culturally disruptive talent in the late '90s, helped to explode certain stereotypes prevalent in mainstream film culture. The height of this critical genius was the third installment in his spy-spoof series with British undercover agent Austin Powers. If his continued disruption of the British stereotype wasn't enough for part one, Meyers added the culturally dissonant Scotsman Fat Bastard to the oeuvre. In the third installment, Goldmember achieved transcendence by further mash-up of his cast: add in a Danish weirdo with a gold fetish, as well as an overly afro-centric partnership with Foxxy Cleopatra and this film is less offensive than ever. Even American History X couldn't tackle issues of race with such courage.
Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace If there was ever a movie that answered all the questions its predecessors left open, it was this one. What a treat to see one of the greatest villains of all time, Anakin Skywalker, aka Darth Vader, in his formative years, weathered early on by the terrors of NASCAR pod racing and junk yards. How brilliant of George Lucas, the film's visionary director, to relentlessly add new alien races, particularly the culturally sensitive and undeniably cute Jar Jar Binks, to the fold. There is nothing but a message of universalism and acceptance here, despite the clear conflict of The Other and a strange version of the Jesus parable that casts young Anakin Skywalker as the only tragic hope of the human race-little does the audience know... Fortunately, the audience does know that Anakin is Vader so there's no chance of the mind wandering. Every moment is engaged with an inquiry into how? an inquiry Lucas-who puts nothing but pure cinematic gold on screen at all times-is able to drive through the following two films, which would be included also on this list, had I only more room.