These are three feature length films you might have watched.
- Titanic (1997)
- E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
- The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Can you name two things these three movies have in common?
- According to the Internet Movie Database they are, in the order they appear above, the top three most watched motion pictures of all time.
- Nobody has tried to cash in on their timeless popularity with a sequel.
I watched Titanic more than once. I know where I was and what I was wearing when I watched E.T. the first time. Then I watched it every day for weeks. The only three movies I've seen more than ET are Coming to America, Life, and Bottle Rocket.
I watched The Wizard of Oz once and got scared. My dad went to college in Kansas before he met my mom back in Ethiopia. When we immigrated to Columbia as a family of three, he wanted to show us where he went to college. That's why I got scared when I watched The Wizard of Oz. I was four; talking scarecrows are creepy to four-year-old Ethiopian toddlers and birds.
Still, one little, fraidy cat Ethiopian doesn't diminish the stature of Oz as a movie not to be repeated. Whether you like them or not as a matter of personal taste, you can't dispute their durability. They've held up over time. Additions to the original will feel gratuitous and expedient. (See for example Karate Kid II, Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, or Next Friday.)
Which brings me to the Tuesday before Easter Sunday. I'm writing about Titanic but I should be filling the blank sheet of paper taunting me from beside this computer keyboard.
It's blank because compelling questions, memorable word images, and culturally relevant anecdotes related to the resurrection of Jesus as told by the gospel writer of Mark are missing. It's blank because it takes me forever during Holy Week to write a sermon for Easter Sunday. It's blank because I know whatever I say will sound, at least to me, like the 50-11'th sequel produced since the original came out.
Check back tomorrow for the rest of this post. It is almost certain to appear because writing about writing is easier than writing. Click here to read Part 2.