Six Things That Batman ’66 Changed For The Better

[With any long-running, oft-adapted character, there will inevitably be actors who become closely identified with them, who, in effect, ‘become’ them for a generation of fans – and out of all said characters, few have seen more of these than Batman. Just about everyone has ‘their’ Batman.

Michael Keaton is still mine. Kevin Conroy embodies him for many others. For younger generations of fans, he may be Christian Bale, or Ben Affleck.

And yesterday, a Batman died.

For those of you who haven’t heard the news, Adam West has just passed on. He died from leukemia at age 88.

I was greatly saddened to hear of this. My own history with West’s Batman is not particularly extensive – I first saw Batman: The Movie back in college, and watched the actual show only recently – but his uniquely humorous, straight-faced portrayal has still left a deep impression on me. More than that, he himself had always struck me as being a genuinely nice guy in real life, a gentle, funny man who seemed to deeply appreciate having had the chance to portray such a terrific character – he once called himself “the luckiest actor in the world”.

He lived a long life, and died as the patriarch of a large and loving family. He continued being involved in Batman-related projects up until the very end. His was a life well-spent that left a positive impact on millions of people – and though he is no longer with us, I have no doubt that his body of work will continue to affect millions more to come.

As it happened, I had already written this article, which I have been tinkering with and fine-tuning for quite a while now. This seems as appropriate as any a time to post it. I hope you will enjoy it as a tribute to the man’s work, along with that of the many other talented men and women that helped make the ’66 Batman the cultural milestone that it remains even today.

The Bright Knight is gone, but he will never truly leave. Farewell, old chum.]

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Annie Hall review

“Syliva Plath – interesting poetess whose tragic suicide was misinterpreted as romantic by the college girl mentality.”

The Scoop: 1977 PG, directed by Woody Allen and starring Woody Allen, Diane Keaton, and Shelley Duvall

Tagline: A nervous romance.

Summary Capsule: Cute little tidbits about how Woody Allen views life, and more importantly, love, in progress.

Nancy’s Rating: Four out of five college kid clichés.

Nancy’s Review: The other one is the video game kid. The other is the heavy hippie stoner. And then a blatant nerd, and then a party kid.

But next to all of that, there’s the intellectual. Ohhh, you kooky intellectual.

Woody Allen is a staple for that college kid’s life. To be a college intellectual is to be amazed by his subtle humor. What is so special about Annie Hall, however, is that it transcends this land of ‘college cult deal’ and crosses over into ‘respected love tale for the ages’ land.

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The Animatrix review

“Hand over your flesh, and a new world awaits you. We demand it.”

The Scoop: 2003 NR directed by Andy Jones, et all and starring Clayton Watson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Keanu Reeves

Summary Capsule: A series of nine short animated films examining various corners of the Matrix universe. Also, robot bosoms.

Drew’s Rating: Umm… not as good as the first movie, but way better than the third? Or does that go without saying?

Drew’s Review: Okay, a bit of explanation is in order — as some of you may know but others not so much, The Animatrix was a series of 9 short animated films released as a DVD collection at around the same time The Matrix Reloaded hit theaters. Overseen by the Wachowski brothers with a variety of directors, the shorts are meant to explore the Matrix universe in more detail, expanding on things only touched on in the movies; with the exception of one 2-parter, each stands on its own and has no connection to the others. Thus, rather than trying to judge the entire package as a whole, I’ll instead be looking at each segment individually and judging it on its own merits. Clear? Cool. Let’s do this!

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Animal House review

“Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”

The Scoop: 1978 R directed by John Landis and starring John Belushi, Tim Matheson, and Donald Sutherland

Tagline: It was the Deltas against the rules… the rules lost!

Summary Capsule: Delta House fights against the administration, fellow students, and oppression of parties everywhere.

Justin’s Rating: Spank-a-Doodle-Dandy

Justin’s Review: There are scenes in this movie that are certainly innovative and fascinating, and even more that draw attention to sheer crudity and a spirit of gross-out. The point where I nearly lost my lunch came in a “morning after” scene, where a college co-ed and her professor are milling around the house. The professor is Donald Sutherland, who parades around in nothing but a shirt and effectively moons the audience. That, my friends, shocked my hormones into a coma from which they still have not recovered.

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Adventureland review

“I’m amazed at how tiny my paycheck is.”

The Scoop: 2009 R, directed by Greg Mottola and starring Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, and Ryan Reynolds

Tagline: It was the worst job they ever imagined and the best time of their lives.

Summary Capsule: the summer before going off to graduate school, a young man’s parents can no longer provide him with the money they promised so he has to take any job he can: welcome to Adventureland!

Kyle’s Rating: Kristen Stewart can do no wrong EVER

Kyle’s Review: Although I surely would have enjoyed Adventureland without it, having seen I Love You, Man helped enlarge Jesse Eisenberg’s lead performance immensely. Paul Rudd, already enshrined in the Comedy Hall of Greatness, delivered above and beyond what was expected in his role. Yet Rudd couldn’t overcome his script’s inability to sketch a wholly believable male not only born without the skills to form normal male friendships but seemingly incapable of even attempting to fake the behaviors allowing her to “fit in” socially. I Love You, Man is very, very funny, don’t get me wrong. But there is a consistent distance throughout that, basically, never let you forget you’re watching a fictional comedy film. Is that a bad thing? Not at all.

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Happy 20th birthday, Mutant Reviewers From Hell!

mutant

Some of you (maybe just a few!) might know that my writing career got started a long time before Massively, Bio Break, and WAAAGH! I, along with several friends, used to write movie reviews daily about cult films that would tickle our odd fancy.

So the story goes that back in 1997 when I was in my junior year of college, an internet friend named Kym and I were talking about our mutual love of strange movies and decided to start up one of those fancy “world wide web sites” that were all the rage. I registered for a free Geocities account (yes, Geocities!) and started cobbling together the site that would eventually be called Mutant Reviewers From Hell (MRFH).

It was dorky only in the way that ’90s websites could be: distracting backgrounds, animated gifs, MIDI jukebox, web counters, guestbooks, and the like. Yet it was also the spark of something special. Kym and I would post short and (hopefully) entertaining counterpoint reviews about the same movie, giving readers multiple perspectives on various flicks. At the time I was working at video rental stores (look those up in your history books, kids) and had an unlimited access to all sorts of crazy films.

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WEGAF Reviews: Top Ten Golden Age Western Heroes

Hi, everybodee!

Well, I guess it’s been a while. No, scratch that, I know it’s been a while, and for that, my apologies.

Why so long since a post? Well, you see, there was something causing me, shall we say, a sort of… creative constipation, video-wise. A project which I thought would be short, but wound up ballooning into a monster, a giant, galumphing monster, accompanied by technical failures and creative challenges a-plenty. It was one of those situations where every time I thought I was almost done, some new, unconsidered detail reared its ugly head and sent me hurtling back to the beginning again.

It was, without doubt, the longest, most difficult video I’ve ever made – so long, in fact, that I had to split it into two parts. But I persevered, and here it is at long last! View, ladles and germs, my exhausting but, at last, rewarding behemoth of a project – the Top Ten Golden Age Western Heroes, Parts One and Two!

As I’ve already said, it’s long – very long, over an hour in total. So you may want to space it out a bit. But I hope you’ll watch it, because despite all the sweat and frustration I had to go through to get this thing done, I honestly do think I came up with something worth watching here. There are a few characters that you may have heard of (I’ve mentioned a couple of them before), several that you probably haven’t, and a number of interesting details thrown in along the way.

(Incidentally, hope you like the title cards. I’ve decided I’m going to be making them for all future videos, just to give ’em that professional look – the old ones will get them too, eventually.)

And actually, I did make a few other videos since my last post – I just haven’t posted any of them here because, well, they’re fill-in things that vary in quality. But a few of them are decent, so here’s a link (again) to my YouTube channel if you’d like to check ’em out:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCeezda04oUpl1JG-4Y7LayA/videos

Right, that just about does it for now – but rest assured, I shall be posting more videos here, and soonish. I’m already hard at work on a new one, and things are going very nicely so far, so while I won’t jinx myself, stay tuned. In the meantime, enjoy these two!