A sequel worth seeing

By Jeff Gates - Life Happens

Hopefully it will not turn into Ghostbusters II.

In the history of the cinema, many a classic movie has been diminished by the releasing of a less-than-impressive sequel.

Let us just take a minute to review some of the less memorable.

The “Robo Cop,” “Jurassic Park,”” Caddy Shack,” “Speed” and “Grease” continuation efforts all failed to live up to the excitement (and in some cases, shock value) of the almost-groundbreaking originals.

Movies like “Rocky” did have some memorable parts in the myriad of follow-ups — specifically “Rocky IV” with the classic Sylvester Stallone-Dolph Lungren 10-minute punching flurry at the film’s end, concluded with Rocky’s stirring speech to the won-over Soviet crowd.

Others, unfortunately, had us scratching our heads in bewilderment.

For example, I could never rationalize why there was ever a “NeverEnding Story II.” If the story actually never ended, why was there even a reason for a second one to start?

In sports, teams are always trying to relive past glory. In the NBA, teams like the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls haven’t been able to reach the heights of their previous splendor.

Hockey hasn’t seen a top notch Toronto Maple Leafs or New York Islanders squad in what seems like generations.

As a Buffalo Bills fan, I know all-too-well about not having a taste of former brilliance. I know they lost four straight Super Bowls, but at least they made it there. My Buffalo squad haven’t sniffed the playoffs since losing in the fixed Music City Miracle (aka referees don’t know what a forward lateral is — and I’m not bitter), giving them the longest postseason drought of any team in the four major sports (1999).

In 1976, my beloved Cincinnati Reds swept the New York Yankees in four games in the World Series, thanks primarily to my favorite baseball player of all time — Johnny Bench.

The Reds win caused a stir in the baseball world, but especially in the Big Apple.

It prompted the Yankees to open the bank vault in an attempt to avenge that loss and vault back to historic Bronx Bomber status.

The key piece to that 1977 puzzle was the signing of prolific home run hitter (and exuberant personality) Reggie Jackson, who they signed to a then-astronomical $330,000 per year contract. Coupled with team captain Thurman Munson at the same salary, they were unofficially dubbed ‘the best team money could buy’ by some.

The gamble paid off as REG-GIE clobbered a trio of homers on three consecutive pitches to put an exclamation mark on the Yankees’ championship finale against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fast forward 40 years as the current American League New York team made the splash of the baseball off season so far by trading for reigning National League MVP Giancarlo Stanton.

With a contract averaging approximately $29.5 million per year, the Yankees hope Stanton is this generation’s answer to Reggie (albeit a much more subdued version personality-wise). Paired with titanically-sculpted Aaron Judge, who just completed a power-filled rookie season, New York fans are yearning for the most prolific duo in the Bronx since Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris in 1961.

If anything, this sequel of the mid-1970s in New York will be fun to watch — unless you fancy low-scoring, pitchers’ duels.

As a baseball fan, I’m hoping this pair provides the good kind of Bronx cheers.

I’ve seen too many sequels that disappoint like ‘Fletch Lives.’

By Jeff Gates

Life Happens

Jeff Gates has been a freelance writer for The Madison Press since 1996. Future column suggestions and/or comments? Contact: lifehappenscolumn@gmail.com.

Jeff Gates has been a freelance writer for The Madison Press since 1996. Future column suggestions and/or comments? Contact: lifehappenscolumn@gmail.com.