---Sorry if there are any spoilers. I will try not to ruin any endings…---
This list is less about movies that would become typical franchises (Drag Me to Hell, Serenity) or sequels that would essentially be remaking the first one with a different setting (Inside Man, Groundhog Day). Instead, it is more about characters that could be revisited, an interesting idea that could be expanded upon, or looming questions that need to be answered with another film. The TV series mentioned are ones that got just one season and deserved many more. First seasons usually end with the audience wanting to see more, or with a cliffhanger that will bring the audience back. Not all deserve a second shot, but several undoubtedly got shafted.
For the sake of objectivity, I am going to ignore my favorite films for this list. Obviously I would like to revisit Michael, Stan, Axel, Steve, and Linda some 30 years later. I would like to see if William Miller ever gets together with Penny, and if not, how closely he resembles Lester Bangs as his career goes along. I would like to see Maya, Jack, and Miles a decade later. I would love to see what happened when Will found Skylar and if they ever move back to Southie. However, I am not sure if any of those would make particularly great movies, which makes me want those to just be left alone (and why I am endlessly skeptical of a Kill Bill Vol. 3). Anyway, without further ado, here are movies that actually deserve to be revisited at some point:
Others receiving votes: The 40 Year Old Virgin, Hot Fuzz, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Streetwise, This Is Spinal Tap, Unbreakable, Watchmen
10. Boiler Room (2000). This may be somewhat of a personal choice, but if Wall Street (an inferior film) warranted a sequel, then this certainly does. The film has one of my favorite groups of characters of the 2000s. The competitive banter and rivalry between them is just a perfect image of spoiled “Wall Street” yuppies. I would love to spend another couple hours with these characters, mainly because I want to know what they are up to now. Can they sustain real jobs? Did Chris get out in time? Does Seth reopen his casino? I will never understand how such an appealing movie can be so underrated, especially with that cast. It needs to be revisited at some point. Come on Ben Younger! You have only made one movie since! Get on it!
9. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (TV Series, 2006). This is another case where I will never understand the lack of popularity it has. Not only is Aaron Sorkin one of the most brilliant television minds ever, but the series had solid ratings. They ruined the show by chopping its single season into three different parts. The show was so in-the-moment that it would have been fascinating to see how it developed over multiple years. It is exhilarating to watch what goes on behind the scenes of sketch comedy shows and how dark and serious the people are about being funny. The season is sort of wrapped up with a bow, knowing that it wasn’t going any further, but there is so much more story to tell here. Does the off-again on-again relationship of Matt and Harriet last? How does Danny deal with his newfound responsibilities? So many of the storylines have so much room for expansion, and the writing is so biting and sharp that I can’t help but think that this would have been a classic. If it had been released today, it would have been much more popular.
8. Inception (2010). If there was ever a movie or a concept that created enough room to make a dozen movies, it is Inception. Seeing how insanely popular it was, I cannot fathom Christopher Nolan not taking it even deeper at some point. Everyone has their own theory as to what it all means. It took several viewings for me to really understand it, which is why it is so fascinating. I would almost want to see a prequel about the inception of Inception. What if they implanted an idea in the wrong person and had to go back in to take it out? What if Cobb was the one being incepted in Inception? There are so many layers to this story, and there are no limits to how penetrating the story can be. It is bound to happen, and even though I am not the biggest fan of the film, I would there in a heartbeat for another.
7. The Departed (2006). Now, the film that The Departed is based on, Infernal Affairs, had both a sequel and a prequel. Both are warranted for what is arguably the best American film of the last ten years. Dignam is the best character in the film and it would be amazing to watch an entire film about his character. A prequel based on any of the characters or stories would be awesome. William Monaghan wrote the script with so much passion and with so many layers that there is so much potential for expansion. What happens to Dignam? What happens to Madolyn? How was Sullivan’s early career as a cop under the rule of Costello? How did Costello rise to power? These characters are so intriguing and well-rounded that following any of them would be a pleasure to watch. The storylines from the Infernal Affairs series are already there, so even copying those would be fine. I just want more!
6. Tropic Thunder (2008). Sequel may not be the best word to use for what I want here. Spin-off is much more appropriate. I have long been talking about how hilarious a Les Grossman spin-off would be (watch this clip and its related videos), which would be pure gold and a comeback of sorts for the much-maligned Tom Cruise. Kirk Lazarus and Tugg Speedman would be interesting to see a movie about, or a movie about the making of Simple Jack or Satan’s Alley. What exactly was Four Leaf’s experience in the war? How does Les Grossman conduct daily business in Hollywood? What exactly was shown in Tropic Blunder that warranted Speedman getting an Oscar? What does Lazarus do next after what was probably perceived the most offensive character in modern film? Movies about movies are a personal favorite of mine, and there has not been a funnier one in decades. With all of these stars and all of these hilarious characters, making a spin-off should not be a problem. At least the Grossman one is planned…
5. Rounders (1998). If there is never a sequel made for Rounders, then it would be a huge wasted opportunity. Several movies since have tried to tap into the market for poker films, but none have ever come close to eclipsing it. It changed the game for movies about poker, and it is now considered somewhat of a classic in its own right. There are tons of storylines that could be expanded upon after the film ends. An immediate sequel would have been most beneficial, showing what happens when Mike gets to Vegas. What happens with Worm? Does KGB send Grama after him? Do KGB and Mike ever meet again on the felt? All great niche films like this deserve a sequel at some point, and I am not sure that there is a deserving one than this modern groundbreaker.
4. No Country for Old Men (2007). A sequel to No Country for Old Men would be interesting, since there are no more books following the characters. However, a spin-off would not be out of the question. Javier Bardem would probably want to reprise his career role at some point. Imagine an entire movie dedicated to one of the most chilling villains of all time. Where does he go? Does he get caught? What is the significance of that car wreck? There are tons of storylines that could be created for this character. He is so haunting, because we have no idea what is going on inside his head. He kills every person who lays eyes on him. He is like the Terminator. This would be the perfect source for the Coen Brothers first ever sequel.
3. District 9 (2009). This is probably the most obvious choice on this list. The original was shockingly popular without any great marketing or anyone famous involved in the actual production of the film. It changed the game for what is expected from sci-fi films, and it ends with a cliffhanger. What happens when Christopher gets home? Is he going to come back? What exactly ended up happening to Wikus? Neill Blomkamp obviously left the door open for a sequel, which he has not created a story for yet. He is busy with his second feature, but he said that if everyone wants to revisit this story then he would love to do it. I think we can all agree that he should just go ahead and start writing it now.
2. Hoop Dreams (1994). This may be a bit of a copout, but we need a follow-up to this movie. Obviously, this is the best documentary ever made. Every moment of it is crucial, and it always rings so true and leaves the audience wondering how the filmmakers got so lucky with the story. It chronicles two young teenagers who are chasing their dream of playing in the NBA through different routes. When the film ends, all the audience wants is more. We are here 18 years after the release of the film, and so much more has happened with the two subjects of the film. Do they end up playing college ball? Do they ever sniff the NBA? How did the success of the film impact their chances and livelihoods? It is such a unique case, and while the basketball questions are about the least interesting issues in their stories, they are still the backbone. This should turn into something like the Up documentary series, giving us an update on what they are doing periodically. Steve James is a genius and one of our best storytellers, so I trust that he would make it with the same passion that he did Hoop Dreams. I don’t think that he knows any other way.
1. Playmakers (TV Series, 2003). When I first thought about this list, it was a no-brainer what would eventually wind up topping it. The one season we got of Playmakers was one of the 5-10 greatest television seasons I have ever seen. The show was about a professional football team that was brutally honest in its portrayal of how they live off the field. It was an ESPN original series, and the NFL was so worried about how accurate and grim they made the league look that it negotiated with ESPN to take the show off the air. It is most frustrating because the show was so popular, ESPN’s most watched program other than their live football games. I used to watch every episode 3 times on the first day it aired. The season ends with such a shock, and we are left breathless and wanting more. How does the team rebound? Can Taylor stay retired? How does Luther Hawkins eventually change the league? Ok, we may already know that one. Each character had so many skeletons and so much drama. This was one of the finest ensemble pieces I have seen on TV, and looking back on it, it was visionary in the themes and issues it raised. How did HBO or some other cable network not buy the show and keep it going? A second season now would be completely ridiculous, but there has never been a show that got screwed out of future seasons more than this one.
Any others? This topic is fairly wide-open, so feel free to comment, criticize, or give your own.