To paraphrase Stephen Sondheim: Hollywood used to be a breeding ground; now it is a receptacle.
Sondheim was originally talking about Broadway. At least I think he was; I can’t find any proof that he actually ever said that. Whatever, it’s a good quote. Broadway, formerly a bastion of American artistic innovation, is currently the home of Legally Blonde 2: The Musical 2, the sequel to a musical based on the film Legally Blonde 2.
Look what movies are coming out this summer: Sex and the City 2 (sequel to a movie based on a TV show based on a book based on newspaper articles), Iron Man 2 (sequel to a movie based on a 2nd-tier comic book), Jonah Hex (based on a 5th-tier comic book), The A-Team (based on a campy 80s TV action show), Macgruber (based on a series of TV comedy skits based on a campy 80s TV action show) Robin Hood (beyond being basically a Bible story in terms of freshness, it’s also for all intents and purposes a sequel to the film Gladiator), Step Up 3D (sequel to a sequel… in 3D!), Toy Story 3 (sequel to a sequel… in 3D!), Shrek Forever (sequel to the sequel to the sequel to a movie based on fairy tales and fart jokes), Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (based on the sequel to a computer game), The Karate Kid (remake of an 80s movie that spawned several sequels, starring the sequel to Will Smith), Ramona and Beezuz (based on children’s books which have already inspired filmic adaptations), The Last Airbender (based on an animated TV series), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (based on a graphic novel), Nanny McPhee Returns (sequel to a movie based on a series of books), Piranha 3D (remake of a movie that was based on ripping off Jaws), Predators (you know, like the movie Predator, but plural!), Dinner for Schmucks (remake of a French film from a decade ago), Cats and Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore (sequel to a movie called Cats and Dogs that I’d never heard of until I Googled it so I could write this). That’s not counting films whose plots are just lazy retreads of previous films. And that’s also not counting the Marmaduke movie.
I will say this right now: if there exists a finer metaphor for the creative bankruptcy of the Hollywood film system than a movie based on a half-century old comic strip that has been recycling the same five gags since blacks and whites had separate drinking fountains, I cannot imagine it.
I will also say this: I wish people would stop asking me about it.