3The Graduate's Sequel: Home School
Even if you've never seen a movie in your life, you almost definitely know the ending to The Graduate, based on the novel by Charles Webb. In the most famous scene, young Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) interrupts a wedding by yelling the name of the bride, "Elaine!" Once Elaine gets past the fact that Ben slept with her mother, the manipulative Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the two young people run away together.
As they sit on a bus, riding into an unknown future, they alternately laugh or just sit in uncomfortable silence, wondering what will come next.
"Wonder how many movies with the word 'Focker' in the title I'll do?"
The Little-Known Sequel That Ruins It:
In 2007, Webb returned to these characters in Home School, a novel that manages to ruin one of the most classic endings ever written by explaining exactly what Ben and Elaine have been up to. The answer is: not much. Ten years later, Ben and Elaine are married and have decided to pull their children out of school and teach them from home, which has proven controversial in their community of Westchester, New York.
Not quite as controversial as fucking your neighbor's wife.
When the Westchester school board threatens to outlaw home schooling, Ben hatches a scheme to enlist Mrs. Robinson to help them. In order to keep his kids at home, Ben convinces Mrs. Robinson to sleep with a local principal. By the way, the aging Mrs. Robinson now goes by the name "Nan," since she's the grandmother to Ben's children and all. Nan agrees to use her sexual charms for a good cause this time.
Hopefully she won't start hitting on her grandkids when she's senile.
In other words, the most fascinating character from the original book and movie is now reduced to a slutty grandma. Jesus, that was probably bound to happen anyway, but there's no reason why we needed to see it. Also, bear in mind that the last time Ben and Mrs. Robinson crossed paths, he had an affair with her, ruined her marriage, and crashed her daughter's wedding ... and now she's inexplicably lending herself to his ridiculous sex plot?
It's almost like these were completely different people and someone just pasted in the names of the characters from The Graduate to make it a sequel. Actually, that's exactly what happened: Webb admits that after coming up with the idea of having someone seduce someone else for a friend, he decided to cram his old characters into the new story. That's, uh, one way to write a sequel, we guess.
2Casablanca's Sequel: As Time Goes By
Casablanca is literally the Casablanca of movies. The film cemented Humphrey Bogart's status as a leading man and single-handedly convinced the American public that the Nazis are the bad guys. It also features possibly cinema's greatest ending, in which the cynical and enigmatic bar owner Rick Blaine (Bogart) selflessly gives up the love of his life, Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman), for a greater cause, that being "Seriously, though, fuck the Nazis."
As Winston Churchill once said, "Brave is the man who gives up boners in the name of freedom."
The Little-Known Sequel That Ruins It:
Hollywood has been trying and failing to recapture the sense of action and white-hot sexual tension created by Bogey, Bergman, and Peter Lorre since day one: We've already told you about Brazzaville, the (terrible) planned movie sequel that was never made, but that's just one of the many failed projects to rape Casablanca's venerable corpse that never got off the ground.
And then, in 1998, they finally did it. Warner Bros. hired author Michael Walsh to write a book sequel called As Time Goes By, which picks up right where Casablanca left off. The end of the film implies that Rick and his new (beautiful) friend Captain Renault will join the French resistance. However, the book starts with Rick going, "You know what? Fuck that," and instead choosing to follow Ilsa and her husband to Lisbon.
"Forget everything I said back then, I was spectacularly drunk."
Once in Lisbon, Rick joins a plan to assassinate a Nazi bigwig, but he's more concerned with secretly fucking Ilsa behind her husband's back, canceling out the original film's ending. Again, the entire point of the movie was that Rick gave up Ilsa. This is like doing a sequel to The Sixth Sense that starts with Bruce Willis finding out that he's alive and everyone was just ignoring him, or if Return of the Jedi had started with Darth Vader saying, "Just kidding, Luke. I say that to everyone."
The sequel also makes sure to kill whatever's left of Rick's aura of mystery by giving him a needlessly detailed backstory. Turns out Rick is actually a Jewish gangster born Yitzik Baline in East Harlem.
"Everybody goes to Yitzik's" just didn't have the same ring.
The East Harlem origin is meant to explain why "Rick" couldn't go back to America (the other gangsters wanted to kill him) and "... why Sam, his best friend, is a black man." Because when you watched Casablanca, the question you came away with was obviously "Why would Humphrey Bogart befriend anyone who isn't white?"