Michael Keaton Day

September 15th was Batman Day.

Did you know this is an annual thing?  Well, the cool kids knew.  And me. I also knew.

For me, Batman Day really means it’s Michael Keaton Day, because Michael Keaton is the BEST Batman ever.  A quick scroll with the tv remote tells me that at least 4 cable channels agree with me, as they are currently running a loop of the Keaton films that will undoubtedly go on all weekend.  No such thing as too much Michelle Pfeiffer in red lipstick and leather, so I doubt anyone is complaining.

There’s so much to appreciate about the MK Batman movies, I hardly know where to begin.  I have been in a mood today so let’s begin with his mouth.  If you’re going to cover up approximately 97 percent of your body with latex and leave your mouth showing so that you can speak and scowl and whatnot, it needs to be a pretty damn impressive mouth.

Exhibit A:

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For all his handsome broodiness, Christian Bale does NOT have a pout like that, I’m just saying.

Secondly, Michael Keaton’s Batman was campy and fun.  He told great jokes and was able to have a laugh at himself.  It’s like he KNEW this shit was comic books, man.  He wasn’t trying to get all philosophical about it, he was just there to bust some noses, spend some Wayne Enterprises money, and kiss the pretty girls.  I admire his simplicity.  Jack Nicholson is so enjoyable as the Joker that his performance elicits giggles of delight.

And finally, the reason I hold Michael Keaton up as the Batman Standard which all other Batmen have failed to measure up to:  Well, this guy says it better than I can , but Keaton’s Batman’s whole purpose was wrapped up in his alter-ego. They weren’t so easily separated as Christian Bale’s version.  He wasn’t ALSO Bruce Wayne.  Bruce Wayne in the Keaton films was a regular guy who lit up and came alive when he answered the call to save Gotham.  I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

So Happy Michael Keaton Week, everyone.

I hope you get the opportunity to sit down with your loved ones tonight and watch Batman, followed by Batman Returns, a cinematic masterpiece starring one of the sexiest set of lips that has ever graced the big screen.  And also Michelle Pfeiffer’s.

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I am the (K)night

Movie Dates and Southern States

This weekend my husband had a *rare* day off work, so we decided to take our littlest guy to see a movie called “Strange Magic”.  It was playing at our local “cheap” theater (tickets are $2.25) and we had a gift card, so after concessions we only paid $5.00 for everything.  Totes winning.  (Thanks, Carmike Cinemas for having a more affordable option in our town!)

Usually I have to really pump myself up to see animated films.  I know the theater will be packed with kids talking and/or crying, and I would really just rather take a nap.  However, Strange Magic is the second movie I have seen this year that surprised me with its greatness.  This movie is delightful.  Delightful, I say!  It’s a musical, which I did not expect.  The Bog King (voiced by Alan Cumming)is totally my favorite character.  The plot is not extremely predictable, the animation is good, and the songs are so enjoyable.  At certain points I was singing, my husband was singing, our son was dancing… it was a wonderful time!  I’m telling you, there’s nothing so sweet as catching glimpses of a little one’s face while they are completely entranced in a story like this one.  Half the time I was watching the screen, and half the time I was studying my boy, sitting on the edge of his seat, smiling, fascinated.  Why can’t all movies be this good?!

The rest of our weekend was filled with house cleaning, workouts, and car shopping.  Two things we always do on Sunday (or I do alone, if my husband is working): Church and Fried Chicken.  Almost every week.  On both sides of my family Sunday is a day of eating.  My mom’s mother is French, and makes bread by hand every Sunday morning, then we all feast on it after church.  My dad’s mother makes country-style meals with fixins.  In my house, we do fried chicken.

As we were sitting at the table looking over our Sunday lunch, I felt overwhelming gratitude.  The South, particularly the states I have lived in most of my life – Georgia and Alabama – takes a lot of crap from the rest of the nation.  It is the butt of many jokes, and is criticized on the regular for not conforming to what is normal everywhere else.  But I am SO grateful we live here.  Grateful to have been raised here, with front porches and rocking chairs and sweet tea.  With tire swings and creeks and Sunday Service.  We worship Jesus and we say ‘yes ma’am’.  We say grace and we walk around barefoot and we make our biscuits from scratch.  I cannot imagine life any other way.  I cannot imagine raising our kids any other way.  If you don’t live down here, well, y’all just don’t know what you’re missing.

Cinema Dry Spell

Movies.  Let’s talk about movies.

Cinema, film, the theater.  I have a great affinity for the medium.  When movies are good they can make us laugh, cry, and wonder.  They can make us feel joy, curiosity, sadness and pain.

Lately, though, all they make me feel is pain.  Not the pain of being emotionally involved.  Not the pain of reminiscing lost love or the pain of not knowing how the story will end.  No, mostly the pain I feel lately in relation to the movies is more like how it feels to break up with someone you’ve been wanting to leave for a while now but you can’t find the words, so you let them linger.  And every time you see them you’re just like “ugh”.

Movies, you make me say “ugh”.

Where are all the good choices?  My husband and I were last in the theater for Gone Girl.  Admittedly, going to the movies isn’t something we do often, as wrangling a sitter and getting dolled up is infinitely more difficult and less cost effective than just choosing something we’re mutually “meh” about on Netflix.  [Don’t get me started on Netflix – that’s a whole ‘nother blog post.]  Since then, we have not been back ot the theater, and that’s not for lack of trying.  Every time he gets a day off or someone offers to watch our kids for a while, we get excited.  Pull up the Fandango app and let’s see what’s playing!  And then, disappointment.  Every.Single.Time.

Here are things I won’t pay to see:

* Scary Movies, any kind.  I don’t care if it’s ghosts or zombies or supernatural things or hexes or witchcraft or someone wearing night vision goggles running through the woods, I will not see it.  No way, no how.

* Potty Humor movies.  These, and it makes me sad to say, seem to be the majority of what’s considered “comedy” in America today.  Bodily function movies, movies that use words like p****, c***, d***, etc., I will not see.  I am embarrassed for everyone involved in these NONfunny films, from the writers to the actors to the audience members who choose to support them.  If you can’t make me laugh without passing gas, getting naked, or being otherwise inappropriate, you aren’t funny.

[Just eliminating these two types of movies pretty much eliminates my choices altogether.]

* Animated films. I have no problem if we are taking my 5 year old to see the Lego Movie.  That movie was entertaining and, again, the 5 year old was with us.  For a date night, I don’t really want to see a cartoon.

* Stripper movies, soft porn, 50 Shades of “Even Though I’m Grown I Still Think My Grandfather Would Be Disappointed in Me” films.  I don’t watch porn.  I’m not going to pay to watch porn.  I’m not judging you if you watch porn, but for me it’s a no.

So, using this list, let’s look at the options available to me right this minute at our local movie theater:

50 Shades of Grey – no

Spongebob – no

Kingsman: The Secret Service

Paddington – no (but this will be a YES for my son. I adore Paddington.)

The Wedding Ringer – no.

So my option is Kingsman.  To its credit, Colin Firth is wonderful and I could probably be at least mildly amused listening to him read a phone book.  Does it look like the kind of movie I want to spend $200 on (plus $355 on popcorn and drink)?  Not exactly.  Again this week, we will not have a movie date night.  And I’m telling you, it’s been like this for months!

Gone Girl was pretty good.  I mean… well, it was ok.  It wasn’t what  I wanted it to be, but I also didn’t leave feeling like I should demand my money back.  Still, after hearing and reading such rave reviews for the actor and the story and then experiencing its total mediocrity, I was left wondering, is bad the new good?

Are we, as a culture, so used to seeing abysmal films, that when something with even a hint of creativity, a smidgen of hilarity, comes along, we jump up and down and sing its praises?  No matter that the dialogue doesn’t make sense or the costumes are horrible.  Don’t pay attention to the similarities between the film currently showing and that OTHER romantic comedy (many times starring the same actors) that you paid to see LAST month.  In Gone Girl’s defense, the ending was a bit surprising.

Where is my generation’s answer to Raiders of the Lost Ark?  Why has no one written a screenplay that can stand up to  Shawshank Redemption?  Why are extraordinary films so hard to come by?

There is a cinema gift card in the drawer of my desk.  It may never get used.  Maybe that’s a good bad thing.