Carroll County Times

Sam's Choices: Top trilogies

Even though I am not really a big fan of "Iron Man," it seems appropriate to debut this column with a timely list. The release of the third installment in the "Iron Man" series on Friday got me thinking about trilogies, both good and bad. There are some really great ones out there, some from present time and others from before I was born. Unfortunately, I have limited myself to choosing five of them, so some good ones are bound to be forgotten.

I can't claim to have seen all of the trilogies out there, so this can't be viewed as an all-encompassing list, but it reflects the ones I have seen and enjoyed.

The biggest challenge when it comes to selecting a trilogy these days is that Hollywood doesn't seem to know when to stop producing movies. I had a hard time deciding if a movie qualified for this list because people are re-visiting formulas that worked in the '80s, hoping that people will see the name and go see the film.

Some of these films have been selected as the original trilogy they were a part of, because new films have been made years later but I still love the first three that came out.

'Star Wars' the original trilogy 1977-83

In my mind, nothing can beat the original "Star Wars" films, and that will never change. I grew up watching them with my family, crying every time the love of my life, Luke Skywalker, lost his hand during the battle with Darth Vader in "The Empire Strikes Back." My obsession with Luke may account for my undying love of the series, but, as I came to realize as an adult, there are many other reasons this trio tops my list.

For one, the special effects amaze me; to this day I am constantly impressed with the way the films were put together with such little technology available compared to today. The story itself is far superior to anything that has been produced in years, maybe ever, taking the viewer on an adventure they can't wait to finish. The same just can't be said for the second trilogy of films released more recently; like any good "Star Wars" lover, I cannot believe those even exist.

I could go on for days about why I love "Star Wars," but that just wouldn't be fair to the other trilogies on this list.


'Indiana Jones' 1981-89

This is yet another series that makes me think of home, my family and my childhood. My parents started me early on having good taste in films, I guess.

"Indiana Jones" has such a great story line that they made a TV show spinoff and attempted a fourth installment quite recently. I enjoyed the show when I got the chance to see it, but the fourth movie just shouldn't exist. And heaven forbid they decide to make another one, I just won't be able to stand it; let's hope Harrison Ford agrees with me. This set of films is adventure and action at its best.

Short Round was my favorite in "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom," always running around saying "Dr. Jones, Dr. Jones." I can still remember my sister cringing during the scene with the bugs crawling all over - makes you itch all over. But it was never scary, just interesting. Who comes up with a character who can take someone's heart out of their chest with just his hand?

If for some reason you missed these films along the way, go back and watch the original three, you won't be sorry.

'Back to the Future' 1985-90

I always wanted a hover board. And Christopher Lloyd was always really cool, while Michael J. Fox was cute. When put on paper those are pretty lame reasons for liking a series, but how much more can you ask for? Add to that a bad guy named Biff and that's the icing on top of an awesome trilogy.

The series is another one of those I watched with my family; I promise, I logged a good amount of time outside as well. Why aren't there any great family films that parents and children can enjoy together anymore? The concept of these movies is so simple, sending a mad scientist and a teenage boy through time in a cool car is classic, therefore the formula wins out in all three installments.

I think my favorite moment of the films is in the first one when his mom "has the hots" for him. I remember cracking up at that as a kid. He almost ended up beating out his dad for his mom's love; you just can't lose with that kind of comedy.


'The Dark Knight' 2005-12

The only trio of movies from the past 15 years I see fit to mention is the newest "Batman" trilogy. My reasoning for selecting these in particular, and not, say, "Lord of the Rings," is that "Batman" was firstly, awesome, and second, didn't put me to sleep. My generation's movie selection is sadly pretty pathetic, but this set certainly redeems some of that. But this set of films is enthralling, well done, visually impressive and the acting is absolutely incredible.

No one beats Christian Bale as the Batman, even George Clooney, which is saying something because I am usually a big George fan. There is no excuse for not having seen these movies. They are, by far, the best of all of the attempts to make "Batman."

'The Mighty Ducks' 1992-96

I have to admit it has been a while since I have sat down and watched this trilogy, but I will forever remember how awesome they are. Hockey is clearly the best sport out there, so they had that going for the movie from the start. But then make Emilio Estevez go from being required to work with this team of rowdy kids to falling in love with the group and what he is doing and you have the makings of a winning trilogy. Throw in the Bash Brothers and nothing else stands a chance.