I’m becoming more like my parents each day.
Case in point, a legitimate sequel to the movie I was obsessed with as a child has been green-lit, and yet I’m more skeptical than excited about it.
This next nugget of information may not surprise you, but most of the dialogue and images from the movie “Twister” are permanently burned into my brain thanks to repeated viewings during my elementary school years. The movie naturally fueled an interest in severe weather and storm chasing among thousands of ‘90s kids, myself included. Enduring that film being played a zillion times over should earn my parents some sort of award.
My father has a hard time sitting through most movies. He has a few favorites, like the original “Star Wars” trilogy and the 1963 classic “The Great Escape,” but otherwise most films and shows fail to keep his interest. He also doesn’t like when people talk during a movie, which my mom and I can get into a bad habit of doing.
My mother likes to make comments or ask questions about plot points yet to be revealed. She’s especially prone to this if she really enjoys the movie or show — she’ll tell you all about it before you see it. I have to remind her not to spoil things for me sometimes, but it’s never really a big deal.
My love for cinema is well documented. I’ve written a couple of short screenplays and a handful of treatments in the past. Earlier this year I wrote a sort-of quick outline for a sequel to “Twister” just to kill some time. It featured Helen Hunt’s character, Jo, teaching meteorology at the local university in which her daughter is enrolled, and they both have to survive a massive tornado. According to Deadline, this new film will focus on Jo’s daughter, who is also a storm chaser. It’s said to have a production start date of next spring with Steven Spielberg attached as a producer, just like the original.
Upon reading the article about this sequel, which will simply be called “Twisters,” I was met with a feeling of uneasiness rather than excitement. The film that formed my first inklings of a potential career path spawned a ton of amateur and professional storm chasers, but it also led to a vast misunderstanding of how storm chasing actually is. People to this day formulate their opinions on pursuing bad weather based on the 1996 movie, which had shoddy science but well-rendered tornadoes and a killer soundtrack. In actuality, storm chasing is 99% sitting in a car trying to stave off boredom and 1% seeing bad weather (with and without a soundtrack).
I’m like my mom because I have the creativity to draft a solid movie sequel in the span of an hour. With time, I’ve become more like my dad in terms of understanding the philosophical effects of something like a second “Twister” film. Even though it will probably be a fun experience, I know the movie won’t actually do anything to help improve people’s understanding of severe weather.
Or maybe it will. Maybe the screenwriter, Mark L. Smith of the Academy Award-winning film “The Revenant,” actually spoke to scientists and watched real tornado videos and read survivor accounts. Maybe he did his homework, which is all I’d ask of any writer crafting any story.
That’s another thing I’ve learned from both parents which can be applied to everything from tornado safety to writing projects: a little preparation goes a long way.