Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Blogger: The Tragedy of Batman on the Big Screen

I have been raging about my issues with Batman for a looong time and I decided to write it all down because I am really tired of having to argue or discuss it anymore. Too much sometimes is too much, and this is not a "the book was better" kind of argumentation that you will read here, more likely a break down of a character that was misunderstood by many. Let's see the issues and talk about them one by one:

Where is Bruce Wayne?

First of all, the biggest mistake that I believe that the movie universe Batman lacks starting from the 2000s is that I cannot see Bruce Wayne. Looking at the actors that portrayed him... I love Michael Keaton's scene in the batcave talking to Vicky (Kim Basinger), followed by Val Kilmer's obvious rich kid charm, and... we can argue about how good the plot of the early movies are, but I still cannot argue with the casting. Especially the last one of the classics: George Clooney was the perfect Bruce Wayne. He looks like Bruce Wayne, he acted like Wayne and he has his charm. Clooney is the closest thing they had. I am a sucker for detail, and I will admit that I miss Wayne's look (the same way I hate that they won't just dye the Flash's hair blond... BARRY ALLEN IS BLOND). Honestly, when looking at the incredibly weird dumpster fire that Gotham was, I can still see David Mazouz's Bruce to grow into the handsome dark gentleman that makes every woman weak in the knees. Bruce HAS to be charming and trustworthy and most importantly he has to inspire confidence, while in contrast Batman instigates fear. This is how we can make sure that people do not realize that these two are the same. This is something that Nolan's iteration failed at horribly, seeing that literally everyone figured it out at the start of the third movie. Keaton, Kilmer or Clooney's Bruce Wayne would never get caught. That is what made Keaton's reveal to Catwoman (Michelle Pfeiffer) so powerful (even if she suspected it). Not to mention Adam West's portrayal: we can all laugh at the silliness of Batman (1966-1968), but dammit, if Batman did not have a silly side to him in the comics that show would not have been possible! It is ranked with 7,5 stars on imdb and it is probably one of the most beloved shows of the 60s. Even now nostalgia takes us back to it as we enjoy a good "BAMM!" or "KAPOW!" showing up on the screen. How did we get from this silly smart detective with all the tools on his belt to this dark iteration that Hollywood just cannot seem to shake off?

Bruce Wayne in Young Justice.

Time to Close the Christopher Nolan Chapter

I did not mention Christian Bale on purpose. I think he was a simply terrible Bruce Wayne, but a powerful Batman. The casting suffered in my opinion, but it is not his fault, as he was asked to portray him a certain way. I hated his hair, I hated him outside of the cave and outside of flashbacks... if only they had gotten his hair to be like the comics... Anyway, I cannot blame him for the direction. I am tired of the fact that there was a successful trilogy (I mean... 2/3 let's say) based on portraying Batman's dark side and then Hollywood decided that that is ALL everyone wants to see. Warner Bros. is like a dog with the bone: if there is just one thing that is successful, they will milk that fucker until it is literally dead. Just think of Harry Potter: the Fantastic Beast franchise is supposed to be a 5 movie deal, and already the second one was shit and then the virus hit. Same with Batman, we had a dark version that made money, SURELY that is what gets us profit, let us never again explore other sides of the bat. Like... NO. F*CK NO. Where is the most famous detective in the world? Where is the funny one-liner man from Adam West's interpretation? Or, you know... ANY of the Batman cartoons that we all grew up with and loved? Think of the classic Batman (1992-1995), where he did have a good number of one-liners; or even newer The Batman (2004-2008) series, that had one episode devoted to how Bruce and Selina hate each other, but then Batman and Catwoman are crazy about the other. Not to mention the simply hilarious Batman: The Brave And The Bold (2008-2011) a gift to all DC fans around the world, in which each episode the Bat solved problems with the help of his friends from the Justice League. And finally the renowned Batman Beyond (1999-2001), the only one showing us a grumpy Bruce Wayne, and yet that is the one they are forcing down our throat. Difference is that this Bruce is rightfully grumpy, as he is old and tired and his fighting days are behind him. He is also an inspiration for a new generation, something that most on screen Batmans failed at. You know, going back, if you look at the George Clooney movie as a comedy: it is f*cking funny. It is a great movie the minute you don't take it seriously, and it is also reminiscent of the funny person who Batman is. I am fairly certain that nobody was supposed to take Mr. Freeze (Arnold Schwarzenegger) seriously and that is why they cast the people they did. Yes, Bruce Wayne suffered a horrible trauma as a child, and that defined him in many ways, but the greatest thing about this character is that it is multi-dimensional. He is not just an emo kid. He definitely does not kill anyone (I am looking at you BvsS), and he has enemies aside from the Joker (*author's note: at this point I just gestured at everything around me), and most importantly he never leaves Gotham behind (*cough noises* yes, you heard me Christopher Nolan and your shitty ending to the trilogy). Just because ONE thing was successful because of casting, direction, a script and music, does not mean that the copy+paste versions of it will equally be successful. Perfect example is:

Superman vs. Batman

A couple of years back I wrote about my favorite animated movie with these two, Superman/Batman: Public Enemies (2009), in which the two are really against everyone else, in a world where Luthor is president and the heroes believe him to be a good for the country. Only Bruce trusts Clark, framed by the government as the enemy of the state, and the two have the heartfelt interactions of two friends who have been through some shit. I have already written an extensive review about the interaction between these two in my review of Batman vs. Superman - Dawn of Justice (2016), but I will repeat just one thing: the problem with the Snyder movies is that they decided to copy paste the darkness of the Nolan movies onto Superman as well, and when you have a two hour movie, of which 90 minutes are pure depression and darkness... then a funny banter over Wonder Woman's appeareance just falls flat. These two have not cracked one joke. You made them look like people who could never have a conversation over anything other than being orphans. The movie confused the hardship of two friends facing off after 30 years of friendship vs. that of two heroes with different opinions meeting for the first time. Batman and Superman are founded on the quintessential unlikely pairing of a dog vs. a cat, or more simply put the optimist vs. the pessimist. However, making them both belong to one category, again, falls flat. If one of them is a pessimist the other will agree, over. That is why I was both upset when they decided to end animated DC movies and why I feel like, after all these years, that still not one person at WB has read a single Batman comic in all of their lives. Actually, no, the person who pitches them the idea, who is then fired after their script is taken from them has, and thank you for trying. 

Quick Reactions to Castings

James Lafferty's Batman in One Tree Hill s03x04

As I have established, Bruce Wayne is very important to me. Now, Snyder did get Bruce right with Ben Affleck's performance. When we has announced as Batman I wrote on my blog about it under the title: "What The F*ck Is This Sh*t? The New Batman" where I buried the lead, as I was very happy with their choice, and they did not disappoint. And allow me to quote myself here: "We all have that one actor that we wish would play Batman. And if that person isn't cast, we go overboard hating the one who was chosen. Every single time 50% of the people who hated him will change their mind, the other 50% won't. END OF DISCUSSION!" I stand by this, as my dream casting might not even be interested in the role. And more importantly: "Seriously, how many times do we have to do this? How many people have to be cast in order for people to just - you know - shut the f*ck up?". Affleck proved himself to be the best thing about the DCU next to Wonder Woman's Gal Gadot (who by the way you all shit on at the beginning as well... I knew she would knock it out of the park and it feels great to be right). And I was sad to see him go, mostly because I felt that this is the closest thing we are ever going to get to the Bruce Wayne I want to see on the big screen, and his Batman was also beautiful in a lot of ways. Silly in others, but again, that was forced on us, because remember? He is fun. LOL. F*ck that movie. 

The new Batman movie obviously had the same quick reactions from people. I would like to put a disclaimer here, as I don't mind who they cast, especially now that it has been declared that these movies are not even part of the same universe, and I am sure a lot of people will love the new version and they will try to cover up the fact that they shit on the casting news, but for me... I just ...

F*ck Robert Pattinson

I will admit that despite enjoying a good discussion about any actor and casting choice, I am biased towards this jerk weed and I just don't care about his movies. A couple of years ago he was in Hungary, shooting Bel Ami, a movie that an acquaintance of mine was working on, me and two of my guy (!) friends won a chance to go to the movie set and see the movie being made. At the lot we saw Pattinson, as he was getting into make up. His production manager came up to our acquaintance and told them that Robert does not want "fans" on set. This was shortly after the Twilight nightmare, and I understand that some actors need proper concentration, but they did not ask, 1, who we are, 2, why we are here, 3, if we gave any shits about ugly ass Robert Pattinson. That movie starred Christina Ricci, Uma Thurman and Kristin Scott Thomas like... GOD I WISH I HAD SEEN THEM instead, because I am a fan of theirs. We went to the set but had to leave when princess Pattinson showed up and I was just so effing sad... We WON a chance to be there and he kicked us off because he thought we were his followers like... f*ck this guy. And f*ck your stupid vampire movies too, you sucked. I have not seen a single movie he has been in since and I do not intend to either. I do not care how talented he is, he will never make me forget that experience because it showed his character. And funnily enough, he has not starred in anything that I would have cared to see, so I am doing fine avoiding him.

No, I have not seen the trailer for his movie and I don't care for it either. But not having seen it, I will not pass judgement, I am just telling you that I cannot care less. I am tired of the depressed emo kid that they are forcing Batman to become, and I am also tired of them casting people who lack ANY charm. This pompous asshole still looks like a teenager who just hit puberty, while ripping off Daredevil's costume and I am not interested. And I understand that I am biased but I am owning it. So why I am writing about this if I don't care?

One thing is to be against the casting, but overall, my beef is with the DCU and its refusal to either open ONE comic book or watch ONE episode of ANY of their animated shows. I hate everyone at WB who keep raping me in the face with their horrible live action movies can go fall into a ditch for all I care. I just wish these movies would go away and someone, someone who cares, someone who reads comics would give them another chance in 10 years. That is why I am writing this small review, in hope of seeing the Batman we deserve.

I miss my funny and witty Batman with his multiple layers and intricate plot lines. I am tired of being scared... I don't want to be scared: when you make your main character as damaged as the bad guy I lose interest. He is a charming millionaire with a secret identity. That is it. I wish we could have a movie where they focused on Bruce for once and his actual interactions with the League. Or really, anything but this... 

Watch the new one? Sure, again, I understand that I am biased when it comes to that casting, and the minute I see other layers of Batman reappear on the big screen I will be happy to buy a ticket. But I am not the audience for this and in good humanity student fashion: I like to have proper arguments behind my choices. Thank you for reading this!

Until the next item on my list!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

What's Next On My List? Miss Congeniality

For this summer season, I am going to go back to old movies. The quarantine left many looking for new content, I, on the other hand, went back and wanted to re-watch some movies that I was fond of but never got around to seeing again. A story can be very different if you grow up, if you experience life, if you are no longer just looking for a "happy ending" but for the story that leads there. I decided to talk a bit about all those movies that I re-watched during the quarantine, and will keep on watching this summer. Yes, it is good to have new content to watch, but certain films really merit another look.

FBI agent Gracie Hart (Sandra Bullock) has a weird mission on her hands, as the Miss United States beauty pageant is compromised and somebody's life is on the line, Gracie goes undercover, but it is a much harder job than she anticipated, as she is not the beauty pageant "type". She is, however, a great agent. 

Funnily enough, I was reminded of this movie while rewatching old seasons of Friends, where Chandler is adamant on watching it over and over, and I decided to pop in my copy as well. I really loved this movie when it came out, and just generally, the more years pass and the more movies I watch with Sandra Bullock, the more I realize that she is ultimately my favorite actress of all time. She really has effing range, and anytime she is on the screen I just melt in my shoes. It was no different for this light hearted comedy, which really had one of the most creative plots at the start of the 2000 era. My favorite part, besides the great jokes and one liners, was the relationship between Gracie and Rhode Island's Cheryl Fraser (Heather Burns). Yes, this is not Gracie's world, but she can still see why someone would want to participate in a pageant like this, and most importantly, she goes out of her way to protect these girls.

Watch it? I was very sad to find out that this only ranks as a 6.2 on imdb, as this was very much a beloved movie not only when it came out, but years after too among the people I know. This movie has an outstanding all-star cast, with an original plot and very funny interactions. I find it to be simply a delight to watch and re-watch any day of the week. This is a small review, but really, I just want to get you to see it in case you had not!

Until the next item on my list!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

What's Next On My List? Fried Green Tomatoes

For this summer season, I am going to go back to old movies. The quarantine left many looking for new content, I, on the other hand, went back and wanted to re-watch some movies that I was fond of but never got around to seeing again. A story can be very different if you grow up, if you experience life, if you are no longer just looking for a "happy ending" but for the story that leads there. I decided to talk a bit about all those movies that I re-watched during the quarantine, and will keep on watching this summer. Yes, it is good to have new content to watch, but certain films really merit another look.

Evelyn Couch (Kathy Bates) befriends an old lady, Ninny Threadgoode (Jessica Tandy), who starts to tell her stories of her family. Evelyn realizes that she is unhappy in her relationship, and it is this old lady the only one who seems to care for her. As result, hearing the stories of strong women, she decides to become the one who cares for herself as opposed to waiting for someone else to do it for her. 

This was one of my mom's favorite movies (I am fairly certain she missed the obvious lesbian vibes), and years later we saw a copy on a discounted DVD rack and she bought and we watched it that very night. First, it a very serious movie, dealing with racism and sexism, some that have lived on in our society years later. Second, it is two big stories taking being told at the same time. I really love how Evelyn, our main character, gets inspired by a woman who defied societies expectations long before it was in any way acceptable by women to stand up for themselves. And these women, Idgie  (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Ruth (Mary-Louise Parker), decided to be happy, no matter what. As I said, fighting against illnesses that cannot be treated, against institutional racism and sexism, against death, sometimes, is very tiring. But Idgie and Ruth never gave up on seeing the good things in life and that is really the best lesson that you can take away from this story. 

Watch it? I find that this was a very successful movie, but as always, people who did not see this movie with their parents, are likely to never know about it. This is a beautiful and very powerful story that bring together two generations facing similar issues in a society that has not evolved to their standards yet. I am sure you can find a billion reviews of this movie, along with all the awards it was nominated for, but I wanted to take a moment to bring it to Your attention, so you make sure to give it a look!

Until the next item on my list!

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

What's Next On My List? Fireflies In The Garden

For this summer season, I am going to go back to old movies. The quarantine left many looking for new content, I, on the other hand, went back and wanted to re-watch some movies that I was fond of but never got around to seeing again. A story can be very different if you grow up, if you experience life, if you are no longer just looking for a "happy ending" but for the story that leads there. I decided to talk a bit about all those movies that I re-watched during the quarantine, and will keep on watching this summer. Yes, it is good to have new content to watch, but certain films really merit another look.

Michael (Ryan Reynolds) visits his hometown for his sister's graduation. After his mother, Lisa (Julia Roberts) passes away in a car accident, he remembers the horrible summer he spent with his father, Charlie (Willem Dafoe) when he was little. 

I really loved this movie when I saw it the first time. I cannot say exactly why I loved it because it is a very sad movie about a man who is forced to face his demons over and over again, while losing the people he really loves. I do believe that this movie is a great example of why people need therapy... that said, there is a curse on this family, that seems to be putting the young boys into difficult situations, while those who were responsible for the problem go unpunished. Watching this movie... Michael's character writes a book about how horrible his father was to him, because that is how he perceived him. His father, of course, did not see it that way. Then again, his character seems to not have noticed a lot of things over the years... and after the accident he has, he becomes dependent on his family, and in a way Michael becomes the parent. He and his wife also find out that they are expecting, and that leads him onto a new chapter in life that helps him leave the previous one behind. My favorite thing about this movie is the journey of Michael, as I also use writing as a form of therapy, I have found it beautiful how he ended up putting the finished book aside, but still needed the process to move on with his life. It is hard for me to talk about this story... I think people should just see it, so I will wrap this up. 

Watch it? Aside from the fantastic casting, this is just simply a good story. And one that I believe to have happened sometime, somewhere, somehow exactly the same way. I still really wanted to talk about it because very few people know about this movie based on my little research and I just want to put it out there: every time I see it there is something new about it and up to today very few movies give me that feeling. Prepare tissues in advance!

Until the next item on my list!