Dan: There's something to be said about the "Grandfather" of something not being the best example of said thing. Just because the original Wolfenstein 3D is the grandfather of first-person shooters doesn't mean it would be the best FPS ever. So when looking at the Star Wars trilogy as the birthplace of the trilogy concept itself, that doesn't mean it gets a free ride. Yes, it still holds up today as an excellent example of trilogy but you have to remove the rose-colored visor of nostalgia before you compare it to more contemporary counterparts. Is it better than the Matrix trilogy? Yes, because it didn't destroy itself in the second and third act. Is it better than the Pirates trilogy? Yes, again same reason. Just want to get that out there for anyone who would be upset that I didn't win just by the mere mention of the title.
On to the points. It was tough with a three-way debate to rake up the points, and as you might have noticed there were point penalties for the ancillary products that drag the owning trilogy down. We started with myself, posting the fact that more than Indiana Jones and to some degree Back to the Future, the second Star Wars film demanded a third one to finish up the trilogy. The second Indy film was technically a prequel, and didn't leave the viewer in any dire need other then the desire for awesomeness for another film. The second Back to the Future film did leave on a cliffhanger, but no one was in danger. Doc could have been rescued at Marty's leisure, with no stakes or rush at all. After all, he had a time machine. The Star Wars trilogy needed to be a trilogy, not because the studio wanted more money, not because the fans demanded it, but because the story needed a three-act structure.
Chris came in hard with the Indy trilogy, citing the interchangeability of the three films, and how they can be viewed in any order while still working. Not only that, but the argument pushing this over the top is that the third film is by many standards the best of the three ... they somehow got better! The first is amazing, and the second one is flawed but still pretty great. Everyone knows the "Kali-Ma" move, the bug scenes, and the chilled monkey brains. That's the type of quote-ability and pop culture permeation that you don't get with a run of the mill cash grab. Star Wars needs to be viewed in order or the story falls apart, and Back to the Future can be watched out of order, but its best when put in the right slots.
Kyle stepped into the arena with the argument that the plot arc and interweaving of Back to the Future is just amazing. True, no time travel movie besides Primer has come close to the timeline merging shenanigans that Doc caused, yet this trilogy does the best job of any movie explaining how the timelines work. With the first movie establishing time travel, the second film detailing how time travel can be abused, and the third movie showing how time itself can be dangerous, the trilogy does an excellent job of proving that it needed to exist. You have to have the first movie to show the characters, and boy was it fun. You have to have the second film, to show an evil future where the bad guys win, and we're all still waiting for those hoverboards. The third movie is a fun ride into the past where we see our beloved characters out of their element completely. You wouldn't want to do another film because there's nothing left, and you can't cut of them out because we'd be missing an important piece of the pie. It's just wonderful.
Chris and I lost our points due to the pure horribleness that is the 4th Indy movie and the Star Wars Christmas special/prequel trilogy ... take your pick. The fact that Hollywood hasn't mined Back to the Future to death is the very reason it is the best trilogy ever.
As for Lord of the Rings, I plan on purchasing the extended edition Blu-ray trilogy any day now, but you kinda have to take a day off from work and watch them all in a row to experience the full glory. Guess I'll be calling in sick soon.