With the arrival of the third installment in the popular scary series "Paranormal Activity 3" hitting theaters Oct. 20 at midnight (the perfect hour to see such an enchanted story!), we thought we’d check in on some of the famed Part 3 flicks of the past. And since we’re pulling for this latest Katie/Kristi outing to be a winner (Activity 3 writer Christopher B. Landon made the five-star film "Burning Palms" earlier this year and we love that guy!), we’ve included a list of both the best and worst films that have ever dared to grace the silver screen with a third gluttonous helping. (And yes, there are selections that are a third in a set of films without an actual ‘Part 3’ in the title – there aren’t that many folks so don't get picky!) Pull up your covers, hold onto you big sis and grab a railing for dear life, as three times may (or may not!) be a charm. Here are the...TOP FIVE BEST/WORST PART THREE’S OF ALL TIME.
With the great Sergio Leone and Clint Eastwood successfully taking on the lush spaghetti western in both "A Fistful of Dollars" and "For A Few Dollars More," who would have thought their swan song would be the third installment in the series. Featuring titular characters Eastwood (in full quiet and bitter 'good' mode!), Lee Van Cleef ('bad,' yet so good!) and zany Eli Wallach ('ugly' in spirit!), the film gives depth, scope and even a pinch of comedic zeal to the already amazing Leone western style that had become iconic. Be it good, bad or ugly, the three in this crowd are some vicious, yet so welcome brutal bastards.
How do you top the horror of the first "Evil Dead" and the humor of the second Dead By Dawn? Combine those mothers, infuse a big budget via Universal Pictures and throw in some memorable tag lines via S-Mart man Bruce ‘Ash’ Campbell (“Give me some sugar baby!”) and you’ve got the third in a trilogy that screams “let’s go!” From director in his prime Sam "Spiderman" Raimi, Darkness is an ode to everything from Ray Harryhausen to The Three Stooges, but above all else it’s simply one hell of a good time. (Plus anytime we can watch our man Campbell go from geek to chic, there truly is a deadite god!)
I actually didn't like or even buy Matt 'baby-face' Damon as memory-loss assassin Jason Bourne in the first two films. But damn it if Ultimatum not only provided some seriously cool chases (the train station surveillance sequence is nail-biting material!) and creative fights (Bourne smashes a face in...with a book!), but also features one dynamite performance by Damon that blew me away! (Guess three times is a charm for the talented Mr. Ripley!) Bulked up, battle ready and bound for blood, Ultimatum converted me to Bourne fandom – I’m ready for more.
How do you top uber-masculine cop Harry '44 Magnum' Callahan fighting both vicious serial killers and dirty street cops – team him with a woman! Macho man Dirty Harry is the perfect yin to rookie Tyne Daly’s unsuspecting and out-of-place yang and it makes for one pairing that has all the tasty ingredients of being a totally fun disaster. (And it thankfully is!) Plus with a slew of memorable scenes - from an opening robbery with Harry providing drive-in service to criminals to a police test made more colorful by the sassy Callahan – bitterness does get better with age.
Managing to come close to the comedy of the original Vacation, but bypassing the forgettable European one, Christmas is so fun and full of hidden holiday humor treats that it has become a traditional viewing staple at our home for the holidays. Cutting down a real tree while stringing cat nibbled on lights distracted by a naked girl in a new pool all the while under the watchful eye of gross out Cousin ‘better go easy on that nog Clark’ Eddie just brings warmth to kith and kin during the festive season. Check our shitters, honey?
I have to ask – was Francis Ford Coppola out of his mind? An aging and not-scary-in-the-slightest Pacino, a wasted Andy Garcia and Joe Mantegna and an out of place Sofia Coppola who couldn't act her way out of a "Lost In Translation" bag as an end to the Godfather legacy? All I remember about this sincerely inferior third act of the Corleone family was waiting though many deep thoughts, countless speeches and a ton of meaningful threats for something to happen – it never did.
Who is the nimrod that thought that the success of the "Smokey and the Bandit" films was actually a combo of Jerry Reed and Jackie Gleason? Well, I guess they are decent replacements for the likes of Burt Reynolds and Sally Field. I mean who needs that mustached Burt charisma and sweet Sally sass when you’ve got the comedy of Cletus and Buford at the helm. (Can anyone tell I’m being sarcastic?!) Horrible plot, gamey staging and about as much excitement and magnetism as a turd in a swimming pool, this burnt Smokey should have been thrown back on the fire as kindling.
I get the whole 3D element, which back in 1983 might have seemed groundbreaking, but why does this one take place in the scary setting of...SeaWorld? Also, why did great actors like Dennis Quaid and Louis Gossett, Jr. even grace this trite with their presence – was there a house payment due? Not even the horrendously bad 3D effects could make this one cool on a cult level - an audience is supposed to be laughing with a movie, not at it. (At the very least this one probably pissed off some visual technician enough that those pesky paper glasses were eventually abandoned in lieu of the current plastic ones!) The only thing scary about seeing Bruce up close and personal for a third time was the lack of great white dental care up close and personal.
After such a stellar first film and then a disappointing sequel, Revolutions had a lot of ground to make up. Alas, the final "Matrix" outing was like a one legged man in an ass kicking contest – doomed from the start. Over indulgent and thus squeezing the lifeblood out of every element that made the first film great – the relationship between Neo and Trinity, the wisdom of Morpheus and The Oracle and evil of Mr. Smith – the Wachowski’s sadly started to believe in their own hype and the result is a film so far from cool even the Fonze would have risked death to cross it’s wide and never ending span of self-important drivel. (And even though the fight between the APU’s and the Sentinels saves the doc, it still can't save the film!) It’s a good lesson folks - originality should be celebrated, but (especially in the case of the ego-driven Wachowski Bros!) not always elevated.
Proving that he is indeed no Bryan Singer, helmer Brett "Rush Hour" Ratner was handed a good script, a cast to die for and even new characters to enhance the X-Men universe and he still managed to screw it all up. Badly staged, horribly shot and about as character driven as "Legally Blonde 2," all the amazing actors (including tasty newbies Ben Foster and Kelsey Grammer!) sadly flounder under the sub-par direction of Hollywood’s one-note wonder. Need to bring your successful and thoughtful franchise to a screaming halt both creatively and stylistically? Ratner’s got your back.
PARANORMAL ACTIVITY HITS THEATERS ON OCT. 21 FROM PARAMOUNT PICTURES.
Photo Credits: Photos Courtesy of Paramount Pictures