The movies of one’s childhood define them. They are works of art that people can reflect upon years later and reminisce about while simultaneously contemplating how society has progressed since the time that they were released.
Millenials and the oldest of the Gen Z generation were born into an explosion of culture and sophistication that defined the 1990s. The emergence of changeable toys from McDonald’s, Wonka’s Laffy Taffy, Monica Lewinsky — the ’90s were truly as blissful as sex and candy, and its movies were just as legendary.
The time has come — just like every other great, original film that Hollywood somehow finds a way to extend with a sequel that either overkills the plot of the first movie (any of the “Rocky” sequels) or is so estranged from the original that it is impossible to follow (“Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”), the time has come to add onto some of the great films of the ’90s.
Unlike the abysmal sequels produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Warner Brothers, there are movies of the ’90s whose spin-offs could transcend modern culture. The following are two movies from the ’90s that don’t have a sequel yet, but need one.
1. “Forrest Gump” (1994)
Tom Hanks captured the admiration of the world in the ’90s with his role as the legendary Forrest Gump. While undoubtedly being one of the most quotable movies in film history, Robert Zemeckis’ film recounts the most famous events that occurred in the United States’ history from the 1950s to the ’80s, all through the perspective of a small-town, southern man from Alabama.
While society has a tendency to over-analyze events, Forrest Gump offers a satirical and simplistic outlook on some of the more controversial occurrences from those decades — events like the desegregation of schools in the South, the Vietnam War, the proliferation of drugs in “hippie” and “rock-n-roll” cultures, to name a few.
The ending of the movie is perfectly set up for a sequel and a possibility to recount the events that have occurred over the more recent decades in the United States.
“Forrest Gump” ends with Tom Hanks’ character sending his son, also named Forrest, off to his first day of school, paralleling the movie’s opening when Tom Hanks’ character was going to his first day of school. The similarities between these scenes set up a sequel for the younger Forrest to do just as his dad did and recount the events that have occurred since the late 1980s.
The life of the younger Forest could also parallel that of his father. Just as Forrest Gump idolized Elvis Presley growing up, young Forrest could also idolize a famous songwriter of his youth that also died tragically at far too young of an age, possibly Kurt Cobain from the 1990s.
The presidency of Bill Clinton and the success of network television series, such as “Seinfeld,” “Saved By The Bell” and “Friends,” could all make appearances as political and pop-culture references to stay in line with the plot from the original “Forrest Gump.” The rise of technology and its influences in people’s everyday lives could also be included.
As the younger Forrest enters adulthood, he could enlist in the army and serve in a controversial war, just like his dad did. The occurrence of 9/11 and the beginning of the War in Afghanistan would fit the plot well. Social rights issues could also be addressed — LGBTQ+ rights, race relations and gender rights of the 2000s could be viewed from the perspective of the younger Forrest.
The stock market crash of 2008, gun violence and the #MeToo movement could also play prominent roles in the film. As Forrest witnesses all of these things, the character’s overly-simplistic mindset of “Why can’t we all just get along?” may help to ease tensions in a country where despairing news and political turmoil seem to divide Americans more and more every day.
The film could invoke unity by reminding Americans of the hardships they have overcome. The journeys of the younger Forrest would be accounts of events that many people, of all different backgrounds, have experienced.
It would offer a time of reflection for all Americans and could challenge people to rethink their stances on controversial issues and how they interact with people whose opinions differ from theirs.
Tom Hanks’ character attempted to be nice and respectful of all people, regardless of race, sexual orientation or beliefs. Maybe more people would adopt a similar perspective after viewing a sequel with humbling perspectives of divisive events that many have experienced.
2. “Space Jam” (1996)
The NBA is currently in a “renaissance” age. The way the game is played and analyzed is becoming almost as progressive as its fan base. While the game has moved in approval of a fast-paced style that favors those with an exceptional athletic ability and an ability to hit three-pointers, the culture associated with the NBA is just as suave.
Social media has given players the ability to interact more with fans and have their opinions on political and social issues be heard and debated. Just watch an episode of ESPN on any given weekday morning and a tweet or a post from Instagram by an NBA player is bound to make an appearance on headline news.
Just as “Space Jam” glorified the culture of the NBA in the 1990s and the face of the league at the time, Michael Jordan, a modern sequel could do the same justice for the modern evolution of the game.
A modern edition of “Space Jam” could incorporate aspects of social media and social activism while simultaneously paying tribute to the league’s modern-day hero, LeBron James.
The Looney Tunes characters would all have to remain the same to pay respects to the original film but it could include appearances from more of the recognizable and popular faces from current NBA rosters, such as Stephen Curry, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, to name a few.
As LeBron plays to save the game of basketball from an intergalactic takeover, the ending could have the potential to become one of the most legendary moments in sports history.
The debate of “Who is the greatest of all time” is endless in basketball. It’ll never be settled unless modern-day science finds a way to work magic and bring both LeBron and Jordan to their physical and athletic peaks at the same time…or maybe it could happen.
“Space Jam 2” could end with an epic one-on-one battle with LeBron and Jordan (who would have returned to the height of his athleticism through some work of space magic) dueling it out with the title of “The Greatest Player in the Galaxy” on the line.
Hollywood could even stick to their guns and let the people vote prior to the release of the movie for who they’d want to see win between the two players. Warner Brothers always finds a way to ruin sequels anyways.