[Mount Rushmore is a new weekly series wherein I propose a category and then nominate four items from that category to stand atop a hypothetical Mount Rushmore. The goal here is to foster some good-natured debate in seeking to answer an unanswerable question. Feel free to use the comments to propose your own quartet, discuss the merits of my own choices, and tell others just how wrong they are. I often no guidance on what criteria ought to be applied in answer the question other than that which I choose for myself. Half the fun is in debating the methodology itself. So without further adieu, let’s get it on!]
I’m not the biggest film buff. So why the hell shouldn’t I weigh in on the industries greatest, most important, and/or most enjoyable film franchises? For my sake, I’m only counting something as a franchise if it has at least three installations. Also, I’m counting reboots as separate franchises. So the Nolan Batman franchise includes only the films directed by Mr. Nolan (which probably helps him). Star Wars, for better or for worse, includes the prequels. Star Trek? Fuck Star Trek. I don’t know shit about Star Trek. Disagree with my definition of a franchise? Go pound sand. Or take it up in the comments section.
The Godfather: The standard bearer. Phenomenal acting, writing, directing… the whole package. Yes, Part III left something to be desired, but that is in part because of the high bar set by the first two. And Part II is in the discussion of the greatest movie ever. This is a no-brainer.
Star Wars: The prequels make this less of a slam dunk than it would have been otherwise. God, were they shitty. At least, the parts I saw. I found them largely unwatchable. Then again, I’m not huge into Sci-Fi or fantasy. So what do I know? But I do know that the legacy of the original trilogy is undeniable. They were technical marvels for their time and remain culturally relevant even today.
Nightmare on Elm Street: A Mount Rushmore of movie franchises wouldn’t be complete with a horror franchise. So why did I pick Freddy Krueger over Jason Vorhees and Michael Myers? Well, Halloween was a little before my time, so it’s out. And while I did go to sleep every night, I never went to sleep away camp. So a monster who haunts dreams is scarier than one who haunts campsites in the woods. If you really wanted Jason’s hockey-masked face up there over Krueger’s burn scars, I wouldn’t really argue with you. And if you want Shatner’s face up there… well, to each their own.
The Fast and the Furious: Yes. YES! FUCK YOU, YESSSSSSSS!!! The second and third installments are forgettable (though they did introduce key characters for later in the series), but the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth are all highly enjoyable. They figured out a repeatable formula and added just enough newness to each film that it never felt stale. Fast Five is a borderline decent caper movie with it’s own Ocean’s 11-style twist at the end. They’ve got a seventh one coming out and they’re still doing gangbusters at the box office. They’re doing something right. I did consider Die Hard here, but the second one really doesn’t hold up well, four was eh, and fifth was unwatchable. If your batting average is under .500, you ain’t cracking Mount Rushmore.
What ya got?