Michael Keaton

Robocop (2014)

Year: 2014
Directed By: Jose Padiha
Written By: Joshua Zetumer, Edward Zeumeier, and Michael Miner


This actually turned out to be one of the weirdest reviews I have ever written and when I couldn’t figure out what to do with it I decided to just roll with it. I have broken the review into two pieces to make it easier to understand. So here it is, the post that has been holding me up. I am happy to wash my hands of it and move on.


I usually loathe remakes but this is not just an exception to that fact, it’s an exceptional exception to my typical line of thinking. I love the original Robocop, and when I first heard there was a remake coming I was frustrated. Yet, at the same time I kept an open mind. If there is ever a movie to remake it’s a futuristic vision that can be adapted to more modern realities. Not only in the vision of the future Robocop presents but the future as it is with the capabilities we have today to bring things to screen.

This movie gets props by following in the footsteps of the original by assembling an excellent cast. It horribly failed by copping out for the PG-13 rating with a complete lack of violence but when it comes to the cast it gets props. The action in this movie is fantastic but ultimately lacking when it comes to the graphic violence we saw in the original film. Yet, they have Omar from The Wire, they have that likable awkward funny kid Jay Baruchel in a serious role, they have Gary Oldman who can do just about anything, they have the up and coming Joel Kinnaman, they have Michael Keaton, and if that’s not enough they have Samuel L Motherfucking Jackson.

This movie is adapted to the times while staying to its roots and I find it very impressive. It manages to make its own thing while honoring the original at the same time. I love that they maintained a similar musical score to correlate with the character so many of us grew up with. Robocop was awesome, but due for an upgrade. The internet has been created since the idea was first conceived and it is an important element to be incorporated into the character. This movie doesn’t have the substance of the original but it has the upgrades to make for an interesting retelling.

There are things to like about this movie but overwhelmingly it doesn’t measure up, and having watched both this and the original on the same day I can sum it up simply. It’s all in the lack of bad guys. Michael Keaton is awesome but he simply doesn’t compare to the likes of Dick Jones and Clarence Boddicker. Those two were bad guys for the ages and that element is absent entirely from this film. This movie lacks intensively in the bad guy department.

The way this movie ends made it what is was for me. It’s the same principle George Costanza figured out one time on Seinfeld. Leave them laughing and they remember you fondly. I fell victim to that scenario with this movie. Samuel L. Jackson closed out this movie with an awesome monologue that cleverly covered up his preferred profane dialogue. When I considered the film in hindsight the ending immediately came to mind and I remembered loving that while forgetting a lot about what I didn’t like.


I wrote all of the above on the day of. In fact, the first three paragraphs were typed out before the movie had even been on for 15 minutes. I had only seen this movie one time before the review and wrote all of that in anticipation. I had really been looking forward to watching this movie. It had set an impression on me when we watched it the first time and I had waited until it was the movie on deck for the blog before watching it again.

Now this review has held me up for weeks as I considered it. Did I scrap whatever I had written and start from scratch? Did I try to adapt what I had already written to my current thinking despite the drastic difference? I was at a loss because I like to keep moving forward and frankly this one stopped me in my tracks.

Here was a film that I remembered liking an awful lot but on the second take I was so let down. I have considered how this happened and believe I have solved the issue. When I watched this remake for the first time I had incredibly low expectations. I hate remakes on principle but gave this one a chance and it surprised me. I was very taken with the effects and the advancements to the actual title character. I really liked the cast and when the movie closes with Samuel L Jackson doing his Samuel L Jackson thing it left me laughing and I remembered it being better than it actually was.

Fast forward to March 4th 2016 and everything was different. I had been on a roll going through the movies in our collection. So much so that I had a day to myself and decided to tackle two movies back to back. Those two movies were this and the original. That morning I fell in love all over again with Paul Verhoeven’s science fiction classic, and then that night everything that was wrong with the remake was poisoning my eyes.

This movie has a great cast, it has a few select scenes that are memorable and exciting, it echoes the original just enough to get your nostalgic mood brewing, but overwhelming it fails at everything else. The story is all wrong and despite how awesome Michael Keaton is there is just no villain in this film that can compare to those of the first film.

I think Joel Kinneman gave a terrific performance in one scene specifically. The scene in which he sees what is left of him physically for the first time and a tear rolls out of his one real eye as the horror overwhelms him. Very powerful scene that really got me the first time I saw it. I think it is really cool to see Robocop scanning crowds and running. In the first film, Robocop is incredibly slow for technical reasons but in this film he is the way he should be as a robot. I really like the part played by Samuel L Jackson and think he shines as he always does. Other than that there is no other reason to see this movie.

I am almost embarrassed to even have this movie in my collection and can’t figure out what kind of spell I was under when I thought it was good enough for our collection. To think I’ve not only owned it but had it sitting on the shelf next to the true classic it stole its name from seems like a personal travesty. My suggestion would be to not see this movie at all and save your time. There is no way, shape, or form in which this one measures even a tiny bit up to the original film.

NEXT MOVIE: The Rock (1996)


Year: 1996
Directed By: Harold Ramis
Written By: Chris Miller wrote the short story and he as well as three others are credited with writing screenplay.


Following the unfortunate death of Harold Ramis I felt compelled to own more of his films.  The collection already features many as you can see by looking at The List but somehow it didn’t seem like enough.  This guy was a legend; he was a great comedy director and writer as well as a capable actor when his name was called.  I was a huge fan, and I felt a loss with his passing harder than I thought I would. I see Ramis as something greater than most because he was a multi-talented filmmaker that did everything.  He was more than simply a writer, actor, or director.  He was a filmmaker in every aspect of the process and he made some really funny films.  This film in particular had not been part of our collection before his passing but looking over the ones I didn’t own it jumped out at me.  I remember watching it when it came out back in 96 and thought it was just OK.  I don’t think it is necessarily an exceptional film now but I do like the collaboration of Ramis with Michael Keaton.  The pairing of two guys I grew up with that just aren’t that popular anymore made me pull the plug.  Sometimes I miss the days when one blasted ghosts with his proton pack and the other haunted criminals at night as the caped crusader.

Harold Ramis knew how to give a funny actor the freedom to do his thing.  It was one of the reasons he worked so well with Bill Murray both as an actor and director back in the day.  In this film he gave Michael Keaton the freedom to showcase his comedic talents.  I’ve never thought of Michael Keaton as a specifically funny actor, I have always unequivocally thought of him as Batman. Nevertheless he has proven more than once that he has the ability to play a great part in a comedy.  He was great as BeetleJuice and I sincerely hope for the opportunity to see him play that part again. The talk of a sequel to that one has heated up some and I for one will have my fingers crossed in anticipation. As for his part in this film; it gave him so much opportunity to be funny because he actually got to play four different sides of the same character.  I specifically thought about how funny he was in this movie when I decided to purchase it and don’t regret the decision. I think Doug1 is really cool because he is just regular old Michael Keaton.  Doug2 is cool because he gets so aggressively butch and macho as the movie progresses.  Doug3 is my favorite because I think the feminine Keaton is the funniest of the bunch.  Doug4 is technically the funniest but I always find myself laughing at Doug3 more.  It makes no matter as they are all great in their own way as brought to life by Michael Keaton.  I think I have sufficiently talked him up at this point.  His career took a spill for a long time but I’m hoping that things are turning around for him.  I haven’t seen the Robocop remake yet but part of the reason I look forward to doing so is because it was a big part for Keaton to get after a long time of not getting big parts.

I mentioned this movie to a friend of mine recently and it sent him on a tangent about how much he hated Andie MacDowell.  He specifically said she was in two of his favorite movies, this and Groundhog Day.  I found it interesting that both movies were made by Harold Ramis and imagine he liked MacDowell specifically.  I don’t get why my friend hates on her because I don’t see anything to hate.  I don’t know that she really brought a lot to the table in either film he mentioned but I think she fit the part in both movies well. It can be difficult to play opposite some actors, specifically someone like Bill Murray, and I think she did a good job of it.  Another little tid bit about her is that I used to work with a guy who met her at a screening of an independent film once.  She was long past her moment in the sun at the time and her presence was a bit surprising to him. He spoke fondly of her saying that she was both approachable and really down to Earth.

In order to appreciate this film you have to look past the flaws in storytelling and just appreciate the performance from Michael Keaton. They could have called this movie “The Michael Keaton Show” if they had been so inclined because that is pretty much what it is.  I think he deserves more recognition for the part if nothing else because he did an outstanding job portraying different parts of the same man.  As the working Doug he is appropriately macho, as family man Doug he is hilariously feminine, and as the mentally handicapped Doug he is funny in a way that only a child can be.  All in all Keaton pulled all the stops to be really laughable and I thoroughly enjoyed this film.  If you get the opportunity to see it then you should check it out.  It’s worth your time and a great opportunity to see the talents of two stalwarts of the late 80s and early 90s giving it another go as the sun set on their careers.  (I sincerely hope in time that statement turns out to be false for Keaton, I will never give up on the BEST Batman).


I used to watch this movie all the time when I was younger. I think my mom owned it. It’s hard to remember. I just thought how cool it would be to clone yourself. I also thought this was very far fetched and way off from anything I would see in my lifetime. Yet, today we are cloning all sorts of things and 3D printing almost anything. Human cloning has a whole other moral and ethical issue surrounding it, which I wasn’t even close to knowing when I was younger and watching this movie. And now that I am a working mom, I think this idea is greater than ever.


This poster is very 90s. I think it is simple, but works. The typography is playful, but could probably do a little more. Since the name of the game is cloning in the movie, maybe some science symbols or something could have been really clever to add into the title. I do enjoy all of the negative space in this poster. It is so simple, and rewarding. I think you get a very clear view of what this movie is about, just by looking at the poster. I like it and am pleasantly surprised.

NEXT MOVIE: My Life (1993)

My Life

Year: 1993
Directed By: Bruce Joel Rubin
Written By: Bruce Joel Rubin


We own this movie because I really like the idea behind it, but if I’m being honest I really don’t like watching it.  What a buzzkill. We tried to watch it but only made it about half way through before throwing in the towel.  It’s inspiring in ways that plenty of other movies are better at but this one seemed to bring something unique to the table.  I remember seeing this movie in the theater, I couldn’t have been more than nine years old at the time.  Even at that young age this movie made an impression on me.  The dying man who leaves a series of videos for his child and fights the disease eating him inside. It’s an incredible story.  I remembered this movie for almost twenty years.  In the back of my mind I had always known that if I were faced with this situation I would do it the way the guy in that Michael Keaton movie did it. A couple of years ago I came across this film for sale in the most random of places and bought it on the spot.  Since, it has sat on our shelf unwatched until last night.

We gave it our best shot, but this movie is difficult to watch.  It’s hard to get into the right mood to something like this. We watched it for a while before giving up and watching a funny sitcom to salvage the evening.  I don’t regret owning it however.  This movie left an impression on me at a young age and I still like the idea enough to justify owning it.  I like Michael Keaton and enjoy any opportunity to see him in something but this one is a bummer.  I can’t imagine myself ever recommending it but I’ll reference it anytime an opportunity presents itself.


How terribly depressing. Depressing. Depressing. How about instead of watching this movie watch Season 3 Episode 15 of The Office, where Michael goes about making his own video for his unborn child. It is hilarious, and in my opinion, a lot better use of time than sitting through this gut wrenching movie. I also hate that it forces you to think about your own children in a “in case of death” situation.


UGH. This looks like a cover to a Nicholas Sparks book. (Which I know is blasphemous to say, but I also can’t stand a Nicholas Sparks movie or book). I hate anything that just wants to see exactly how much it can make one person cry during a movie. Ryan has a good rule of thumb for these types of movies, if the trailer makes me want to cry, I don’t want to see the movie. There are so many things wrong with this poster. The hands thing. It’s very Sistine Chapel don’t you think? Then the picture of the two of them. A square photograph like image in the middle of a glowing blankness. And then lastly there is the typography. It looks like the only reason they changed the “f” in life was because they thought it was a pretty way to draw an f, so hey let’s awkwardly stick it in the middle of life even thought it has no relative meaning whatsoever. I hate this poster. HATE IT. I think it’s safe to say this is by far my least favorite poster. Of course….we haven’t made it to Southland Tales yet….

NEXT MOVIE: Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

Jackie Brown

Year: 1997
Directed By: Quentin Tarantino
Written By: Quentin Tarantino (screenplay) Elmore Leonard (book)


This was actually the first Tarantino film I ever saw when I watched it in the theater at 13 years old. It would actually be years before I would know either Tarantino or Samuel L Jackson by name but I swear that they spoke to me with this film.  Even to this day I can’t pinpoint what it was that drew me to this movie or what it was that I liked so much about it but something here fascinated me.  I thought Jackson was so smooth and devious as the main criminal and it may have been the role that initially made me fall in love with him as an actor.  It wasn’t just Jackson though, the whole movie seemed to draw me in and I saw it a couple times in the theater.  I was too young to understand the art behind film making when I was 13. Looking back now I find it interesting that this movie, made by a true artist, took hold of my premature imagination and managed to absorb my full attention even though plenty of the film went over my head.

This movie is based off a book by Elmore Leonard called Rum Punch that Tarantino acquired the rights to back in the 90’s. Tarantino wrote the screenplay and did a great job with it but from what I understand he more or less stayed true to the story and followed the book closely. I think it is a great movie and have since it first caught my eye over fifteen years ago. It’s not Tarantino’s best film but only because the competition is so steep.  I think Tarantino experienced a significant slump in his career following this movie.  Until 2005 when he blew me away with Inglourious Basterds I had considered this the last good movie he had made.  To the best of my knowledge this was Tarantino’s last collaboration with Roger Avary and until Basterds and then Django Unchained turned out to be so incredible I had given up hope on him as a director.  Tarantino’s greatest work for a long time came while he was working with Avary.  Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fictionand this movie were all done in collaboration with Avary and they were all incredible films.  During the seven years between this movie and Inglourious Basterds I began to think that he wouldn’t succeed without Avary.  I will admit now that he can and will.  His last two films, Basterds and Django Unchained, were incredible films and prove Tarantino can do it all on his own.

Like most Tarantino movies this one sports an incredible cast.  It revived the career of Pam Grier who took on the lead role.  Tarantino had long been a fan of Pam Grier movies and specifically changed the lead role of the story so he could cast Grier in the part.  I think she did a terrific job and looked incredible doing it.  As great as she did though, I happen to think the greatest role was played by Jackson.  He thrives in the roles he gets from Tarantino and he did great with the largest he has had in any of his films.  As Ordell he was so calm, cool, and collected that he entranced me as a new teenager figuring out what it was that really made movies great.  Jackson has played many great characters over the years. Literally doing everything from Star Wars to Snakes on a Plane. He is a tireless actor who has left his mark on the industry by making more movies than any other actor out there and being really good at it. I like that Robert De Niro was part of this film but I don’t really think that he fit his role all that well.  De Niro was still a headliner at this time and I don’t think this side role was right for him; it didn’t suit him very well.  Michael Keaton on the other hand did a great job in a supporting role and I was happy to see him playing a part.  I have always been a fan of Keaton and liked his collaboration with Tarantino.  There has always been a big fuss over the role Robert Forster played but I have never seen what he did that was so significant.  He was nominated for the Academy Award for the part and I don’t think he did a bad job, I liked his role I just don’t think it was anything special.  Bridget Fonda does well enough in the role that she had but all she had to do was look good and tanned.  Truth be told I think the part could have been cast better despite that but Fonda sufficed.  Last but not least Chris Tucker can’t go without mention.  His part was small but he still played a significant part.  Also worth mentioning is Tommy ‘Tiny’ Lister who has a small part.  My wife and I actually met him in Las Vegas this past October.  She had her picture taken with him and I shook his hand.  He is an incredibly intimidating man both on screen and in real life but he was really courteous to my wife. 

The biggest problem with this movie is that it really runs far too long.  Somehow is seems to be a great movie without really being any good.  That’s a strange thing to say but it is the best way I can think to describe the movie. There are too many long scenes simply honoring the soundtrack of the movie. Tarantino has said this movie wasn’t a play on blaxploitation but it seems like that kind of throw back to me. He is obviously a fan of that genre as he specifically cast Pam Grier in the lead role.  I read that when she came to his office to read for the part he actually had posters from her films hanging on the wall in his office.  She assumed he had done this for her but said that they always hung on his walls in there.  Between that and the music choices for the film I do feel he was referencing the old blaxploitation films but I am no one to argue with what the director specifically said it wasn’t.

One thing I did notice while watching the movie and would like to point out was something Samuel L Jackson said during the film.  In one scene he is sitting across from Robert Forster in his office when he points to a picture of Tiny Lister and asks, “Whose that Mandingo motherfucker right there?” I found the phrase to be interesting specifically because Tarantino’s most recent film Django features and practically focuses on Mandingo fighting during slave times.

In closing I will simply say that this is not my favorite Tarantino movie but it is one that I like and will always have a special sentiment for.  I like the cast, I like the story, and I like the direction.  Given how incredibly successful Tarantino has become in the last few years I look forward what else he has to offer in the future. This may not be his best movie but it isn’t one of his bad ones and that makes it absolutely worth your time.


I don’t mind this movie. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it either.


This poster follows in the true Tarantino style. He has a very unique look to each and every poster for his films. I can always tell immediately who they belong to. I love this poster. It is simple and to the point. The fact that she is holding a gun alludes to the genre of the movie. The font of Jackie Brown is a little decorative for my taste, but I think it works here. Especially for the era.

NEXT MOVIE: Jaws (1975)

Gung Ho

Year: 1986
Directed By: Ron Howard
Written By: Edwin Blum, Lowell Ganz, and Babaloo Mandel

No trailer was available.


This is a movie about culture clashes and I always enjoy those because they can teach us so much about the differences between us. In this movie it is the efficient and hardworking culture of Japan versus the “me first” attitude of the American culture. I think this is a great movie that doesn’t get enough recognition today. It has a timeless quality to it and it is a movie we can learn from so it should have more of a presence in our culture today.

I have been hearing a story my entire life that revolves around this movie. When it came out in 1986 my dad was managing a theater that it was playing in. My mother and grandmother had gone into to see the movie one night and I think it was during the baseball scene that my grandmother created an uproar in the theater. When George Wendt knocked down the Japanese player everybody in the theater started cheering and apparently it really bothered my grandmother, who has never feared to speak her mind. She stood up in the theater and let the cheering people know exactly what she thought of their reaction. It wasn’t an appropriate action in truth, what Wendt’s character did was cheap and shameful. Later during the movie my dad came to investigate what he had heard about and he sat down with my mom and grandmother and asked them to point out the crazy person who had made everybody angry. It became an awkward situation that both parents talked about for some time. Making it even funnier is that I hear a completely different versions of this story regularly from my long since divorced parents.

There is another story about this movie that I will also be telling for years to come. I got into Twitter a few months ago after a long time of refusing to give it a chance. I am not big on social networking and Twitter seemed like the stupidest form of the new communications form to me. I was wrong though, and I can admit that now. I got into Twitter specifically for this blog and we have gained a lot more traffic since I started. Well, about a month or so ago I saw that Ron Howard had retweeted someone who had tweeted him that they were watching one of his old movies. Well I checked the shelf and saw this movie coming up so I tweeted him that we were watching it soon. Howard retweeted me and responded that he really enjoyed making the film. Now I know that isn’t really a big deal in the Twitter world but it was a huge deal to me. I grew up watching Howard on The Andy Griffith Show and then on Happy Days because my dad was a huge fan of both shows. As a child Howard became even more endeared to me with films like Willow that I thought was the greatest thing ever as a young boy. I have lived most of my life in North Carolina and we all love Ron Howard down here. I actually go to Mt. Airy regularly for work and The Andy Griffith Show is still a big deal there. The loss of Andy recently was sad news all around and he will always be remembered fondly here, just as Ron Howard will always be thought of in high regard.

In this movie we see two very different cultures clash. When they begin they run into the typical problems between two peoples but by the end they learn to appreciate one another. The actions of the American are based mostly on arrogance and ignorance. Americans do not like foreign people coming in and telling them how to do things, or that they don’t do things the right way. There has always been a certain air of superiority that comes with being an American. It’s not our fault really; it’s just part of growing up in post WWII America. I like to think that we always have the ability to be better though and I think you can see that in this film. The Americans have their flaws but they do eventually earn the respect of the Japanese and vice versa. The American spirit to never give up in the face of adversity is a quality I think most of us are proud of, but we have been spoiled by freedom and prosperity. This movie may be twenty six years old now but I don’t know that the things we see in this movie have really changed much sad as that is. Of course I have always grown up in the south, maybe things are different in other parts of the country but I have my doubts. This movie is also still relevant today as it gives an idea of how long the automotive companies were a problem for America.  The economic crisis that has ensnared the U.S. in recent years can be directly tied to, among other things, the automotive industry.

I am a big fan of Michael Keaton and he does a great job in the lead role. Mimi Rodgers plays the female lead opposite Keaton and does well. This film also has a good supporting cast playing the American workers including John Turturro, George Wendt, and Ron Howard’s little brother Clint Howard. Clint Howard is often cast in his brother’s films; he also casts his parents frequently. I didn’t notice his mom in this one but you can see his dad, Rance Howard, as the town mayor that greats the Japanese when they arrive. The Japanese cast was all great as well and they actually reprised their roles on a short lived TV series based off the movie.

This is a movie I always enjoy watching and I think it is still relevant today. It was made by one of my all time favorite directors, starred an actor I really like, and told a story I learned from. I think this movie is more than worth your time and I would recommend it to anyone.


I think the first time I ever saw this movie was last year some time. I was surprised, like I usually am when we come to a movie that I have never seen before. I like to think that I have seen all of the movies that “we” own, but I am always surprised when we come across one that I haven’t. This was one that I wished I had been watching for a lot longer. I thoroughly enjoy this movie.

Ironically, this movie shows how Japanese and American cultures interact. I say ironically because we just reviewed Guess Who, which also revolves around race relations. Gung Ho shows how the cultures are different and alike and how those cultures value things differently. In Japanese culture, it is important to show your work ethic. That you are a contributing member of a team working toward a goal. Your honor is a stake. I think for Americans, life is more important outside of work. The fun times you have with friends and family. Work is mainly something that you do to make money in order to do the things that are more fun to do. We look at hard work differently. Neither one is better than the other and I think we can all learn to be better, adopting the positives from each other.

I really recommend this movie. I really enjoy almost everything Ron Howard makes and this one is no different.

NEXT MOVIE: Half Baked (1998)


Year: 1988
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Michael McDowell & Larry Wilson


I love this movie, it is one of my favorites of all time.  It’s such an imaginative story and the movie is so well made.  Tim Burton had a great cast to work with and Danny Elfman added the magical touch with a great musical score. The afterlife is life’s ultimate mystery, this movie offers a unique view of what comes after death. This is one of those movies that is really one of a kind, you won’t find any others like this.  That was what made Tim Burton great, that he could make something so different and interesting.

This movie was made when Tim Burton was red-hot, coming out right before Batman in 1989.  This is one of those movies where everyone was really great.  Winona Ryder was great as the young gothic Lydia.  Michael Keaton was fantastic as the title character, he has said before that this was his favorite character of all that he played.  Catherine O’Hara is perfect as the snobbish and über stylish Delia.  Jeffery Jones, I always liked him as an actor, his fall from grace has been disappointing and unforgivable.   Alec Baldwin was so young in this movie that he is nearly unrecognizable. I am a Geena Davis fan and like many of her movies but I have never thought she was especially good in this one.  Anybody could have played her part.  Danny Elfman delivers big time for Burton with his score on this film, he is a great composer.  The rest of the soundtrack is great too and the “Day-O” dance scene is classic.

I remember watching the Beetlejuice cartoons as a kid which were inspired by the film and also produced by Tim Burton.  Maybe it’s that show that endeared the character to me so much but I have always loved the character and this film.  If you have never seen Beetlejuice then you should give it a shot.  It comes on ABC Family on a regular basis.


This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I don’t mind having it playing in the background and I don’t mind watching it a million times. There is something so intriguing for me when there is a movie about the after life, whether it is serious or not. I am a huge fan of the idea that you still live among the living to either haunt them or whatever. Michael Keaton does a great job as Beetlejuice in this movie. I think it shows his diversity. I also think his Batman voice was a lot better in this film than in the Batman movies.

I also have to point out Wynona Ryder here in this post. Isn’t she just so cute and innocent. Before all the wierdness and shoplifting. I really thought she was going someplace when I was younger, it is sad to see how that turned out.

What is your favorite scene in this movie? Mine is definitely by far the dinner scene when they are all forced to sing “Day O.” How awesome is that scene, for real…in fact here it is for your entertainment. If you haven’t seen the movie it should give you the motivation to see it.

NEXT MOVIE: Beverly Hills Cop (1984)

Batman Returns

Year: 1992
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: Daniel Waters


I was eight years old when this movie was released and it is the first movie I can remember being really excited about before it came out.  I have a very clear memory of a discussion I had with a stranger about how awesome the movie was going to be.  I was shopping with my mom and had to stand alone while her and my sister were in a changing room, and the stranger was some other guy holding a purse, probably about my age now. The habit I have now of keeping up with what movies are being made has been ongoing for probably at least 15 years, this is possibly the movie that started that habit.  So needless to say this movie is special to me, and I think it is a fantastic sequel to the original.

This studio didn’t like this film because they thought they should have made more money with a family friendlier film, but as I said before this is where Warner Brothers is wrong.  Batman is not a family friendly character, he is the Dark Knight, he is a vigilante and criminal. This movie tends to get a little silly at times, Penguin does have an army of real penguins strapped with missiles. It practically is family friendly but very dark all the same and really for the older kids who were in my range of 8 and up.  This movie lived up to and exceeded all my eight year old expectations and I still love it even today.  It is exactly what I say any good sequel should be, a bigger better version of the original. This movie is very different from the first, but the stakes are raised and the consequences greater so it meets the formula.  To go back to my initial point though, as I continue to watch it now I can kinda see the studios point.  The Penguin, as awesome as he was, does tend to be a bit scary.  I don’t remember any, but I wouldn’t be all that surprised if as an 8-year-old I had had any nightmares about the Penguin biting a man’s face off. That is a bit much for the kids, but the studio did go on to get a little carried away with later sequels.

This movie really stepped it up.  There is more action, more stars, and more bad guys.  Michael Keaton was back as Batman and I stand by my opinion that he was the best Batman.  Michelle Pfeiffer is so sexy as Catwoman, she was absolutely perfect.  Danny DeVito was iconic as the Penguin, much more so than Nicholson as the Joker in my opinion.  Christopher Walken is another newcomer that made the sequel great.  Tim Burton may have went a little over the top here and there with this film but it was still great and one of his many fantastic films.  Danny Elfman again deserves special recognition for the score.  What makes it great is that it is similar to the score of the first film but different enough to set it apart.

Tim Burton is a director who deserves special recognition, this movie is part of his legacy.  Any movie fan should see both Tim Burton Batman movies because they are classic.  Burton had a great vision and great actors who did their jobs well.  Anybody who loves to watch movies like we do should watch this movie because it is a great film.  it is worth your time.


I really am a fan of most of Tim Burton’s films, and this one is another one that I truly like. I am not claiming to know very much about the history of Batman, but I love how he introduces new villains in each film. In the beginning of this film, I actually feel sorry for the Penguin. I mean he doesn’t even have a shot from birth. His parents think he is grotesque, they keep him locked up in a cage, and yeah he eats the family pet, but do they even feed him? Okay, I know I am a softy, and it turns out he is a pretty bad guy, but honestly…wasn’t he doomed from the beginning?

If you are young and are reading this, and you have seen the movie, I bet you are surprised to learn that this movie was nominated for two academy awards. Yup, this Batman movie was nominated for Best Effects and Best Makeup. That sort of makes you laugh when you watch it, knowing what was nominated in years to come, but this comic book movie was made before every Tom, Dick and Harry decided making a comic book movie was the “it” thing to do.

I would like to end my review by saying Michele Pfeiffer makes one hell of a hotter Catwoman than Halle Berry, just sayin’.

NEXT MOVIE: Batman Forever (1995)

Batman (1989)

Year: 1989
Directed By: Tim Burton
Written By: San Hamm


Now this is more like it, Batman the way he is supposed to be portrayed.  I don’t know what they were thinking in the 60s, but they weren’t taking the character or genre seriously.  Batman isn’t a know it all do-gooder in a costume, he is a dark and haunted character that breaks the law in order to enforce it.  Batman is a good guy, but he is one of those “the ends justify the means” kind of guys which makes him more of a good guy/bad guy hero.  One thing is for certain and that is that Warner Brothers loves making movies about him, they have made both good and bad decisions about the franchise. By next summer there will have been seven live action Batman films from the studio over the past 23 years, and that wouldn’t have been possible if this movie wasn’t awesome. Batman has a great suit in this film, the Batman emblem on his chest is my favorite, I’ve always like the yellow and black best.  The Batmobile is totally badass, with a shield and the ability to be voice operated from anywhere.  The action figures and accessory toys from this film where what I played with as a 5-7 year old in the late 80s early 90s so I can assure you, all the bat gadgets were awesome.  With so many different incarnations of the character there has always been specific emphasis on how Batman, the Batmobile, Bruce Wayne, and certain other recurring aspects of the series differ from one another.  Some Batman films failed, but this one didn’t, this one set the bar high for the franchise.

Tim Burton was at his best when he made this movie, also making Beetlejuice and Edward Scissorhands in the years before and after.  I am a Tim Burton fan and I am a big fan of his two Batman films.  He has such an interesting ability to be both dark and colorful at the same time.  The choice of Michael Keaton to play Batman was apparently criticized but I still think he has been the best actor to play the role.  Christian Bale is great in the newer movies, but Bale has no upper lip, something important when only the lower half of your face is visible in the costume.  I doubt I would have loved the choice of Keaton in 1989 myself but having grown up with him as Batman I tend to be more accepting and think of it as the role he was made for. I have never been a Jack Nicholson fan, with few exceptions and this movie is not one of them.  I know Nicholson is legendary for the amount of money he made on this film but even before The Dark Knight I didn’t really think he was suited well for the part.  He was old even back in 1989 at 52 years old, I tend to think the Joker should be young.  You can’t cast an old man who shows his age and the ageless arch-enemy of Batman.  I know I am in the minority on this issue though, Nicholson’s portrayal of the Joker made him a legend just as much as the money he made on the movie did.  I don’t think Kim Basinger was anything special in this movie but she didn’t have to be either.  It’s a rule of thumb that a comic book film must have a hot chick/love interest.  Kim Basinger served those purposes perfectly as she was in her youthful prime and on the way to a much more successful career. I don’t usually mention the musical score of a movie but Danny Elfman’s score for this movie deserves special mention.  The musical score for any movie should set the mood and guide the viewer through the movie.  The music should counter balance with the scenes to invoke the right emotion or build anticipation.  The score of this movie does both those things and more, Danny Elfman is a great composer.

I have been a little overly interested in Batman lately as my anticipation for the long-awaited Dark Knight Rises continues to build.  Over this summer I have read several Batman graphic novels actually including Batman: Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, The Dark Knight Strikes Again, and The Long Halloween.  The middle two are exceptionally well done and I would suggest them to anybody because they are awesome.  I have developed a new appreciation for the character and have really high hopes for Christopher Nolan’s next installment.  I’m afraid that the newer Batman films have been so good that they make this one and its sequels forgettable, but I hope that’s not the case.  This movie is a classic, a great Batman film, and the beginning of a long-standing franchise.  It is worth your time to see it.


Doesn’t Michael Keaton make and incredibly sexy Batman? I mean, I get it…he is no Christian Bale (whom I apparently am the only non-fan of), but for me, I just get giggly whenever I hear him say “I am Batman” for the first time. Does anyone remember when Michael Keaton was the “it” guy in Hollywood? Younger generations may not, but I do. I was younger, but I remember. Wow, that never really went anywhere did it. This Batman movie was the first in this series and I think it played as a catalyst for serious comic book movies. It did for me anyway.

This Batman movie actually won an oscar for Best Art/Set Direction. I think that suits a Tim Burton film to a tee, don’t you. The plot of this film is intriguing, I believe because Jack Nicholson is just so damn scary. I don’t think I would ever want to run into him somewhere, especially after seeing him as the joker. Anything I see him in I automatically revert back to him as the Joker. Scary. I give this film two of my thumbs up and I think you should definitely watch it if you like Batman and comic book movies. These are original and beautifully directed, so check them out.

NEXT MOVIE: Batman Returns (1992)