Hollywood Playbook: Tuesday's Top 5 Stories
Tim Burton's 'Batman' Turns 25
Fifty years after 1939, an unprecedented year of cinematic masterpieces, 1989 gave us an extraordinary year in popcorn cinema -- just good old-fashioned entertaining movies. I spent that summer at the drive-in. Every Friday night after the work week was over my then-fiance and I would pack up the '72 Buick Riviera (with that awesome humped back window) with hotdogs and drinks, and head off to one of the three local outdoor theatres for a double (and sometimes triple) feature of epic entertainment for less than $10.
And do I ever remember seeing Tim Burton's "Batman."
By the time "Batman" was released in June, it was already a phenomenon. Warner Bros. marketing machine had brilliantly hyped its Big Gamble for months and the anticipation was sky high. To everyone's great relief, Burton lived up to the hype. Michael Keaton stuck the landing, Kim Basinger was the sexiest thing since Angie Dickinson, and for the rest of the year, Jack Nicholson's Joker would be quoted endlessly by myself and my co-workers whenever an opportunity arose (and sometimes when it didn't).
Variety's Matthew Chernov looks at 9 ways Burton's "Batman" forever changed superhero movies. He makes a lot of good points, but doesn't, I think, give enough credit to the influence the first two Christopher Reeve "Superman" films had on this genre. Nearly a decade passed between "Superman II" and "Batman," but that's because "Superman I & II" were so far ahead of their time.
It is great we are celebrating "Batman," but there is much to celebrate in 1989. The same weekend The Batman arrived, so did "Honey I Shrunk the Kids." The following weekend Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" hit theatres.
Then came "License to Kill," "Parenthood," "Sex, Lies and Videotape," "The Abyss," "When Harry Met Sally," "Uncle Buck"...
What a summer.
My God, I love the movies.
Gary Oldman, Iconoclast
Because I'm dealing with a family emergency and the hospital Internet (which I'm using when not catching a few hours sleep at a nearby Super 8) restricts access to sites like Playboy, I haven't been able to real all of the Gary Oldman interview currently making waves. From other sites (including Breitbart), I've been able to capture what has to be the most controversial stuff.
Acorns dropped in previous interviews made me suspect Oldman was right-leaning. What a breath of fresh air to hear him come out as a full-throated libertarian.
My guess is that he is just fed up. Obama is a walking catastrophe at home and abroad and political correctness (a polite-sounding word for fascism) is destroying art.
I was a bit disheartened to read that Oldman isn't satisfied with his career-making portrayal of Sid Vicious in "Sid and Nancy," one of the best films of the 80s.
The bottom line to most of what Oldman said is ... freedom. He believes in liberty, both in the artistic and personal sense. Sadly, it is that attitude today that makes you a true Iconoclast in a Hollywood enthralled by left-wing conformity.
Here are my two favorite quotes, both of which I agree with 100%:
On the political correctness police: “I just think political correctness is crap. That's what I think about it. I think it's like, take a fucking joke. Get over it. I heard about a science teacher who was teaching that God made the earth and God made everything and that if you believe anything else you're stupid. A Buddhist kid in the class got very upset about this, so the parents went in and are suing the school! The school is changing its curriculum! I thought, All right, go to the school and complain about it and then that's the end of it. But they're going to sue! No one can take a joke anymore.”
On legalizing marijuana: “It's silly to me. I'm not for it. Drugs were never my bag. I mean, I tried it once and it wasn't for me, though, unlike Bill Clinton, I did inhale. To me, the problem is driving. People in Colorado are driving high and getting DUIs. That's what I worry about. Listen, if you want to do cocaine, heroin, smoke marijuana, that's fine by me. It's just that I worry about kids behind the wheel of a car more than anything.”
Oldman and I will have to disagree on Mel Gibson. I was willing to give him a second chance, but I can't get past his "I hope you get raped by a pack of n**gers" taunt to his ex-girlfriend.
Oldman's defense of Alec Baldwin is also misguided, if for no other reason than Baldwin deserves to be hung by his own left-wing petard.
'Run Silent, Run Deep' (1958) Arrives On Bluray Sept. 23
This is a Kino release, which means it's going to be priced way outside of my budget. But one of the best and most underrated submarine films ever made is still worth highlighting.
Directed by Robert Wise and starring the The Mighty Clark Gable and The Mighty Burt Lancaster, this intensely claustrophobic WWII revenge tale centers on these two legends who butt heads as Gable's obsessed sub captain goes to extremes (including disobeying orders) to sink a particular Japanese sub.
Lancaster plays Gable's First Officer and the clash of pure manliness mixed with two opposing acting styles is reason enough to watch.
Lancaster produced the film through his own company Hecht-Lancaster Productions. Four years earlier, Lancaster produced the Western "Vera Cruz" and cast Gary Cooper as his co-star. In both cases, Lancaster intentionally brought on a Major Star from an earlier era, not only for the box office but to contrast their stoicism with his larger-than-life presence.
Trailer: Hollywood Leftists Think You Can Kidnap Your Own Children
Whatever you think of the idea of converting gay to straight, how in the world can you kidnap your own kids? A new documentary called "Kidnapped for Christ" seems to think you can.
If parents were sending their kids to a foreign camp where they were taught how to save the planet from Global Warming, would anyone care?
I spent two summers at a summer camp -- all freakin' 12 weeks of summer. You think I wanted to go?
Was I kidnapped by my own parents?
The real kidnapping taking place here is the Left using documentaries like this to take away the rights of parents. The Left wants The State raising children, the same State that already forces children into left-wing indoctrination camps called public schools.
I'm not unsympathetic to homosexuals who hate the idea of conversion therapy. The very existence of such a thing says there is something wrong and unnatural about being gay. But your hurt feelings do not give The State the right to come between parent and child.
You might think that sending your kid to a camp like this is morally wrong and even unhealthy, but it is not kidnapping. And I can list 10 things public schools do that are just as noxious but approved by the Left.
Variety Critics Pick Best Films No One Has or Will Ever See
Hey, to each their own.
Taste is subjective.
But you would think that a publication like Variety would want a little, well, Variety in its movie critics. How is it that when 3 out of 3 Variety critics are polled about their favorite movies from the first half of this year, they all pick high-brow, indie movies that have almost no appeal to the general public.
Except for "Noah" and "How To Train Your Dragon 2," no one will ever see the other 13.
Is there not a single populist critic working for Variety?
Other than myself, there are three other right-of-center film reviewers I know of, and Christian Toto, Kyle Smith, Kurt Loder and I hardly ever agree on anything.
All three of Variety's critics chose Wes Anderson's "Grand Budapest Hotel" as their top film.
If not populism, how about a little diversity?
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