I've always said that I'm the type of personality who gripes about something largely because art like film and books and television mean something to me more than the average person. Stories are the modern day mythology that says something about who we are culturally, about what we represent at this particular point in our cosmic journey, and about who we might very well be on the path to becoming.
Also, I grew up reading comic books. While I don't remember the particular stories, I can remember the images and the characters very vividly as they were imprinted on my young mind. Back in those days, I'd thumb hungrily through pages of Richie Rich, Archie, and even Batman and Superman. Though the superhero stuff always seemed a bit beyond me in terms of narrative scope, I still loved what these colorful creations could do on the page, and I hung with them fairly faithfully for a few decades. Once weekly budgets were challenged by providing a house over my head, I cut back. Still, I do pick up the occasional graphic novel collection from time-to-time, and I page through whatever is on the shelves of the nearest Barnes and Noble every chance I get.
And I think it's because Batman meant so much to me personally that I struggled with the cinematic interpretation brought to us by director Joel Schumacher. He had two goes at giving audiences something to cherish beyond Tim Burton's earlier flicks: Batman Forever worked like a big, dumb comic book, but Batman & Robin was -- ahem -- just plain dumb.
Seriously? Bat nipples? You introduce Bat nipples to the cinematic continuity, and you're actually proud of that?
Still, Schumacher was a smart director; I'll give him that. He definitely kept his finger on the pulse of society with visual spectacles like St. Elmo's Fire, The Lost Boys, and Flatliners. 1993's Falling Down was a particularly prescient look at one man's life spiraling out of control and how one might react to it. And 2002's Phone Booth was, perhaps, one of the smartest 60 minutes of television stretched out into an 81 minute theatrical release.
In any event, word reached us earlier today that he's left us, leaving behind a good portion of films deserving of a second look. Who knows? Maybe I'll pull out my copy of Batman Forever and give it a spin this weekend.
As always, thanks for reading ... and live long and prosper!