6 Massive Movie Franchises (And How To Actually Watch Them)

As someone that has spent a lot of time watching movies when he should have been sleeping/working/KFCing, I'm here to help.
6 Massive Movie Franchises (And How To Actually Watch Them)

I know what you're thinking: I wish I had more time to watch movies. Each day, the average human spends eight hours sleeping, eight hours working, four hours eating KFC, two hours regretting all that KFC, and two hours gazing into the unknowable abyss. Mathematically, that leaves exactly zero hours for watching movies. How can you possibly enjoy incredible, classic films when you have no time for them?

As someone that has spent a lot of time watching movies when he should have been sleeping/working/KFCing, I'm here to help. See, there are plenty of ways to get through movie series that don't involve sitting through them in their entirety. Here are six franchises that you can quickly dive into, as long as you watch a very specific number of them.

Friday The 13th

Currently, the Friday The 13th series has 12 cinematic entries which chronicle the hilarious misadventures of the murderous Vorhees family, as well as a TV show which chronicled whatever haunted clock or toaster had been discovered recently. So negate the show entirely, unless there's a bomb about to go off and the only way to stop the timer is to watch three seasons' worth of spooky furniture.

Entries To Watch:

Part 4: The Final Chapter, Part 5: A New Beginning, Part 6: Jason Lives

What You Get Out Of It:

Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter introduced us to two world-changing things: the demon-summoning boogie that Crispin Glover inflicts upon himself and his party guests ...

... and Corey Feldman, who plays Tommy Jarvis in this, and would later go on to play increasingly desperate versions of Corey Feldman. Tommy starts off as a weird kid with a fascination with special effects and costumes. And when Jason is about to slaughter his sister, he uses his makeup prowess to dress up like a younger version of him. Jason sees this and is all like "What the fuck? Is that me? AM I ME?", leaving room for Tommy's sister to kill him.

In Part 5, Tommy goes to a camp for troubled youths, and in Part 6, he falls in love with a sheriff's daughter, and together they re-kill Jason by dropping him in a lake. Is it a good plan? No. Expecting lake water to be the thing that bumps off Jason once and for all is, all things considered, a very bad plan. But then again, this is the same Tommy Jarvis who pushed all of his chips in on the "Jason will be stopped by little boys with shaved heads" bet, so he doesn't have a good history when it comes to strategy.

Why You Should Watch It This Way:

The Friday The 13th series isn't exactly known for its strong plotting. The first movie has a (SPOILER YOU ALREADY KNOW) 50-year-old woman doing the killin', while the next three are different variations on "Shit, he's not dead yet," the fifth has someone else dressing up as Jason, and the remainder are more of the same. But Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6 form a nice little trilogy that tells the story of what it's like to grow up with Jason as the closest thing that you have to a father figure, and the effect that it can have on someone's young psyche. It's the best we'll get with this theme until the premiere of Growin' Up Jason on ABC Family, starring Kevin James, with Melissa Joan Hart as Jason.

A Nightmare On Elm Street

On the flip side we have the Nightmare On Elm Street series, which has spanned eight entries and a remake. There's also the series Freddy's Nightmares, which is kind of like a shitty version of Tales From The Crypt hosted by Freddy Krueger. But that's just how this unfulfilling job market works: You toil for years trying to make a name for yourself by vengefully ridding the world of its supply of 11th-graders, and they put you behind a desk, where you tell stories about other people.

Entries To Watch:

Freddy's Nightmares Episode 1, A Nightmare On Elm Street, and then Part 3: The Dream Warriors

What You Get Out Of It:

Freddy Krueger's backstory has been filled in at various points in the movies, but aside from the "I killed some kids, and then those kids' parents burned me to death" thing, not a lot of it matters. The first episode of Freddy's Nightmares, before it became a show about, well, everything else, was actually a prequel to Wes Craven's Nightmare On Elm Street. AND it was directed by the recently deceased Tobe Hooper, best known for The Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It's as if the episode was made for the sole purpose of being the answer to multiple trivia questions.

Then you have the original Nightmare On Elm Street, which gives us Nancy and her sheriff dad. This is followed by Part 3, which gives us an older, wiser Nancy, an older, vastly more reckless sheriff dad, and THE DREAM WARRIORS. They're a group of hospital patients whom Nancy trains to fight Freddy in the Dream World, and they're so awesome that they get the Mid '80s Stamp of Pop Culture Approval: a song that's only sort of about them. By the end, Nancy and Sheriff Dad are goners, but Freddy has been stopped in a pretty conclusive way. And by conclusive, I mean the movie ends without Freddy winking at the camera. These were not subtle films.

Why You Should Watch It This Way:

This not only gives you a start-to-finish story for Nancy, but also a straightforward start-to-finish story for Freddy. That's hard to find for any Reagan-era movie serial killer. Thanks to the work of sequels, Michael Myers became an assassin for a cult that used him as a bull stud to impregnate his own cousin. Slasher movies were magnets for bizarre plotlines that left them mangled in a pile of their own mythology. But with these three movies, you get all the good Freddy without having to endure that time he was abused by Alice Cooper, or that time he suddenly became afraid of fire because the plot absolutely needed him to be.

Planet Of The Apes

There are nine movies in the Planet of the Apes saga: five films in the original series, a reboot, and then a "prequel" trilogy that's kind of its own thing. The reboot is better left completely untouched, as it was obviously the product of a "nose goes" game in Hollywood, in which an executive asked "Who wants Planet Of The Apes?" at a party while Tim Burton was in the bathroom.

Entries To Watch:

Planet Of The Apes (Optional: Beneath The Planet Of The Apes, Escape From The Planet Of The Apes, Conquest Of The Planet Of The Apes, Battle For The Planet Of The Apes)

What You Get Out Of It:

In video games built around making choices, there are often good and bad endings. If you were decent to the aliens and mutants during your open-world adventure, the ending is an uplifting montage of ceaseless emotional handjobs. If you were a dick, the ending is a hot fart in a clown car. Planet Of The Apes has a good and bad ending, and which one you get depends on where you stop watching. If you want the bad ending, watch the first one and quit there. That film ends with Charlton Heston shouting in vain at the Statue of Liberty, which I imagine is something that he did on most Sundays anyway.

However, if you continue, you inevitably see some apes escape their planet before it explodes. (Why does it explode? Psychic doomsday-bomb-worshiping underground mutants, of course. Beneath The Planet Of The Apes is what happens when you put up with screenwriting, are indifferent to your series, and LOVE LSD.) These apes find their way to the past through a time warp, and soon, a whole new race of apes is started. By the time Battle ends, the series has basically looped back around to where it was in the first Planet Of The Apes, except apes and humans are coexisting and exchanging banana bread recipes instead of lobotomizing each other.

Why You Should Watch It This Way:

If you decide to go with the good ending, you're not actually skipping any of the movies in the original series. But if you want the bad ending, you're done in about two hours. It just depends on whether you want to wake up for work on time or tell your boss that there was, like, so much traffic.


So far, the Rocky series spans seven movies, and while it's a story that seems almost tailor-made for a mid-2000s remake featuring music by Saliva, all seven are in the same continuity. None of them are unwatchable, but the best are Oscar-worthy, while the worst definitely fall into the "Post-Thanksgiving Dinner Dad Nap" category.

Entries To Watch:

Rocky, Rocky II, Rocky III, Rocky IV, Creed

What You Get Out Of It:

Now that we're getting a Creed II, you're probably going to want to catch up with Creed. And the best way to enjoy Creed is by understanding the relationship between Rocky and Apollo Creed. Rocky deals with Rocky's rise to fame and his first fight with Apollo. In Rocky II, Rocky finally beats Apollo. In Rocky III, Rocky fights Hulk Hogan, and Apollo helps train Rocky to beat Mr. T. And in Rocky IV, a Russian man the size of the Chrysler Building beats Apollo Creed to death. Rocky is incensed by this, so he runs through the snow until he's ready to win the Cold War through the careful, scientific process of beating it up.

We then flash forward 30 years to Creed, wherein Rocky doesn't really want to be a part of the boxing business anymore. He's living the American dream, running a nice Italian restaurant and being Sylvester Stallone. But Apollo's son Adonis does want in on the boxing game, and after some light pestering, he gets Rocky to train him. In return, Adonis convinces Rocky to go through chemotherapy to treat his cancer, a fight that Rocky wins by KO.

Why You Should Watch It This Way:

No need to watch Rocky V, which is the Bioshock 2 of the Rocky series. It has no reason to exist, but there it is, grabbing onto the ankles of your Rocky box set, hoping that you won't notice it until it's in your home, corrupting your children. Also skip Rocky Balboa. Yes, it's a good movie, but it doesn't do anything for Creed. With this method, Rocky goes from being a series about one buff man to a series about two buff friends and the buff son they each helped produce. I give it Nine Tears Streaming Down My Cheeks Because It's Just So Fucking Beautiful out of Ten.


You will need a total of six hands and one bizarre, single-fingered man to count the number of Godzilla films that have been released. And throughout these movies, Godzilla has gone through various incarnations, ranging from a rampaging atomic freak to a kindly friend of shrieking children. And to the casual observer, his various personalities seem almost laid out a random. Well, I am no casual observer. Tell the football team to practice without me, Dad. I've got a Godzilla thing to explain!

Entries To Watch:

Godzilla (The Original), Godzilla Raids Again, Mothra vs. Godzilla, Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster, Son Of Godzilla, Destroy All Monsters

What You Get Out Of It:

Now, the movies that I listed above can be counted on the one hand of a six-fingered man. That's a shit-ton I'm leaving out. I'm doing this because A) There are various eras in Godzilla, and the whole series isn't just one big connected story, and B) You don't even need all of the films from the first era to get the narrative that I'm setting up, which is Godzilla's path from villain to hero. "Godzilla's path from villain to hero?" she said aloud, her body enveloped in a cocoon of lust.

"Easy now," I, a cool guy, say. "You have more important things to focus on, THE REAL CAMERON DIAZ."

In Godzilla, mean ol' Godzilla bursts from the seas to destroy Tokyo. In Godzilla Raids Again, he fights his first monster battle against the angsty turtle Anguirus. In Mothra vs. Godzilla, he kills Mothra but is defeated by Mothra's babies. In Ghidorah: The Three-Headed Monster, Godzilla reluctantly teams up with one of Mothra's babies and flying bird Rodan to take down King Ghidorah, a space dragon that is basically the final boss of the Universe. Son Of Godzilla is the Mr. Mom of the Godzilla series. And in Destroy All Monsters, Colonel of the Everlasting Friendship Brigade Godzilla willingly and vigorously leads a whole squad of monsters against the return of King Ghidorah.

Why You Should Watch It This Way:

Obvious Man In A Rubber Suit Wrestler Godzilla is Best Godzilla, so we're gonna stick with that time period. But more important than that, watching these six movies will help people understand Godzilla's transition from really dour nuclear allegory to beloved cultural icon. Also, when Godzilla: King Of The Monsters comes out in theaters in 2019, you can now be one of those assholes who whispers "Oooh, that's King Ghidorah" to their friends. I've been that asshole for years, and it's time that one of you picked up the slack.

James Bond

James Bond, the alcoholic British super agent with a penchant for sleeping with anything that he isn't currently shooting at, has an impressive resume. But like all long resumes, sometimes you have to cut out the "Made a three-pointer in a sixth-grade basketball game" and "Brought napkins to a party once" things. You gotta get it down to one page.

Entries To Watch:

From Russia With Love, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the first seven minutes of For Your Eyes Only

What You Get Out Of It:

James Bond has encountered many antagonists during his drunken stumbles through the world of high-stakes espionage. But none of these antagonists have had as big of an impact on him as Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the cat-petting bald head of SPECTRE (which, according to the movie Spectre, is apparently responsible for all the crime in the world). These 4.1 movies will take you through the highs and lows of the Bond/Blofeld bromance.

In From Russia With Love, Bond gets a deep dive into the inner workings of SPECTRE, a trend that is continued with Thunderball. And then, in You Only Live Twice, Bond gets to meet Blofeld for the first time, and it goes pretty well, actually. They don't like each other that much, but that's to be expected. One is a ridiculously handsome spy, and the other is a gross, scarred megalomaniac who hates to leave his recliner. No offense to Blofeld, but I probably won't be asking him to the prom anytime soon.

In On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Blofeld assassinates Bond's wife on the day of their marriage. This is so uncool that Bond hunts him down in the next movie and kills several of his plastic-surgery-created doubles before using him as a wrecking ball on an oil platform. But Blofeld gets away in the end, apparently, and Bond seems to forget about him for four movies and ten years before encountering him again and dropping him down a smokestack. Mind you, the murder of the deadliest terrorist in the history of the world and Bond's greatest enemy is apparently only worthy of being the prologue of For Your Eyes Only, a film that goes on to be about arms smuggling and competitive skiing.

Why You Should Watch It This Way:

The prolonged fight between Bond and Blofeld is the closest that the James Bond series has come to any sort of arc, no matter what the Craig Era has tried to do. So it's either this or you just watch Goldfinger and then be done with James Bond as a whole. Anyone who tells you otherwise is either a very confident Best Buy employee or Pierce Brosnan in a mustache.

After Daniel wrote this, he ate some KFC and took a nap. When he wakes up, you should talk to him on Twitter.

For more check out What NOT To Watch In 21 Famous Movies And TV Shows and 5 Sad Truths You Learn Watching All The Marvel Films At Once.

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