The latest installation in the Men in Black franchise is coming out this Friday. I’m sure you know this, since we’ve all been force-fed a gag-inducing portion of advertisements and gimmicks to let us know that this — along with Burger King, the NBA Playoffs, Sprite, iHop, and some kind of car — is something we can’t afford to miss.
I was a fan of the first MIB movie. I was also in elementary school.
I’m not saying that the first part of that 2-sentence statement was contingent on the second half. But I do feel that it has at least something to do with why I was such a fan. When the first movie came out, Will Smith was at the height of his powers. He was an action movie/buddy-comedy goldmine and a rapper who was the epitome of non-swearing, unthreatening fun that made suburban mothers okay with popping Big Willy Style into their Nissan Minivans. (*Author’s note: the last 14 words of that sentence are not dirty. I swear it. Damn you, double entendres. Damn you.)
My brother and I loved the first movie. At the time it had a multitude of things going for it that made me obsessed with the film. Aliens, high-tech special effects, and a wise-cracking young hotshot butting heads with his grizzled and grumpy older partner. It had all the elements of a movie that a young male would find impressive.
We’ve now come full circle. As is often the case, my nostalgia has given way to a feeling of dread. What used to be awesome to the 1997 version of myself has turned into me shouting at the TV during the 14th preview for MIB III during the NBA Playoffs, “Oh, right, because Will Smith screaming with terror while riding in a space-aged vehicle is so f-ing original!?!?”
I’m a Will Smith fan. I like him as an actor, if I have come to realize that his rapping is no longer for me, but I feel like there are other things on Will Smith’s career priority list that he’s neglecting to go after the obvious cash-grab that is an entirely unnecessary third chapter to the Men in Black franchise.
In fact, here’s the things I think Will Smith should have done instead of making Men in Black III.
#1. (*Author’s note: this one is glaringly obvious) Make Bad Boys 3
I can’t explain my outrage when I heard that Will Smith was doing a “part 3″ movie that wasn’t prefaced with Bad Boys. I was shocked, then appalled. Then re-shocked. Then I involuntarily started quoting Detective Mike Lowery.
The facts are these: Bad Boys and Bad Boys 2 are two of the finest action/comedy movies ever made. They are the only movies in which Martin Lawrence can tap into his neurotic, spastic humor without making me want to pour battery acid into my eyes like it was Visine. These movies are like the pre-Monta Ellis trade Golden State Warriors. They’re so damn fun to watch that you don’t care if they’re more style than substance and more exploding Ferraris than powerhouse acting performances (*Author’s note: in this analogy, the exploding Ferraris would be Steph Curry’s ankles).
At this point, I’ve even got a plotline hammered out. Detective Mike Lowery (Will Smith) is marrying into Detective Marcus Burnett’s family. Marcus, along with a host of crotchety uncles, cousins etc. (*Author’s note: preferably someone like Charlie Murphy) is all-too happy to haze and/or initiate Lowery into their clan. All of this is playing out on the backdrop of both detectives being investigated by a crooked internal affairs agent with ties to the Jewish Mafia in South Beach. The Chief (Joe Pantoliano) is in the midst of a messy divorce and has his hands firmly tied behind his back.
The rest of the plot goes a little something like this: Car chase, car chase, automatic weapon fight, machine gun, club scene, wedding gun fight, kidnapping, LeBron James cameo, explosion, rap music, Martin Lawrence too shocked for words, car chase, credits.
You get the point. The beauty of the Bad Boys franchise is that it allows Michael Bay to do what he loves, namely blow shit up and spend millions on special effects, without it feeling disgustingly CGI-ed or too Shia LaBeouf-y. The chemistry between Lawrence and Smith is so funny that even the most chaotic scream-sessions seem enjoyable.
#2. Come Out With a Rap Song Featuring Sisqo That Samples the Entire Music Track From a Previously Created Song
The music industry needs this. We need this. I’m not sure where Sisqo has gone. Probably somewhere that would be alternately terrifying and hilarious to us if we knew. Is his hair still an un-polished silver that looks like it’s a weird coat of primer-paint? Has anyone showed him their thong-th-thong-thong-thong? Besides men, I mean. I think we need to know. A Will Smith/Sisqo collaboration would offer us the perfect vessel to answer these pressing questions.
All they have to do is hi-jack another ’80s tune with an upbeat tempo, re-write a few of the words like an un-funny parody and they’re suddenly off and running. It would take some of us back to our childhoods and Smith back to the top of the charts. (*Author’s note: Alright, the second half of that is probably inaccurate)
I know that his kids are currently attempting to get their Emilio Estevez game right, taking over Hollywood in the footsteps of their parents, but if Will wants to re-establish dominance now is the time. Bieber’s “rapping” about fondue and Buzz Lightyear on his latest track. The music game would be Smith’s for the taking.
At this point, I’d even be fine with him re-making his own remake. Sound confusing? Don’t tell that to the people who are already re-doing Spiderman about 20 minutes after the first franchise seemed dead. (*Author’s note: I’m leaning towards a re-envisioning of “Will 2k” but maybe changed up to something like an upbeat party jam about how dope it will be for the world to end called, “Will 2k12: Mayan Apocalypse.”)
#3. A Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion Show
I’m not asking for the series to come back. I’m just asking for an over the hill, obese Carlton (Alphonso Ribeiro) and a using-Just-For-Men-Gel Will to have to come home because Uncle Phillip Banks has become embroiled in a corruption case. Will will have to get Carlton to abort his beginning-level Ponzi Scheme and Carlton will have to try to keep Will out of one last stint in rehab. Sounds like a boatload of fun, right?
In summation, Will Smith has other, much more pressing needs to take care of before he should’ve made this movie. Shame on you, Big Willy. Shame.