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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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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GHOSTBUSTERS (2016) VLOG

Here I am again with another video review, this time of the controversial 2016 version of Ghostbusters. It could perhaps be described as a bit of a rant. I hope you like it.

Stay tuned for more videos as well as more standard reviews/articles shortly – I know I haven’t done a lot here lately, but there is stuff waiting, and you will be the first ones to see it once it’s ready.

The Office: Season Two review

Office_Season_2As lackluster, short, and — let’s face it — nearly irrelevant as season one of The Office was, the decision to pick it up for a 22-episode second season was as surprising as it was fortuitous.  Maybe it was Steve Carrell’s charisma that convinced the network to do so, but good decision, boys!

I consider the first episode of the second season to be the “real” start to The Office.  A lot of work went into rethinking characters and getting into a comfortable groove, and the employees of Dunder Mifflin that we know and love today emerged as a true ensemble force here.  And looking over the episode list, I’m amazed at the sheer quality of hilarious stories that are packed into this season, which is why it propelled The Office into a “must watch” type of show.

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The Office: Season One review

os11There’s a sort of hipster shibboleth that you’re supposed to claim that the two-season British original of The Office was, hands-down, the best.  Say that, and you’re in with all of the cool critics.  While it was sort of funny, I never warmed to it the way that I have since latched on to the American version, which I now consider one of my most favorite TV series of all time.

I guess I won’t be invited to their snooty parties.  That’s fine with me; I’d rather be hanging out with Jim, Dwight, Michael, Pam, and the rest anyway.

I’ve seen the entire nine-season run of The Office several times through now, as it’s one of my constant “comfort foods” in my TV time.  Sometimes I even listen to episodes in the car, because by now my brain can fill in the visuals.  The delightful mix of insanely awkward moments, sincere emotion, and hilarious corporate antics have always made me feel that I’d gladly get a job at Dunder Mifflin if it was with people like these.

So let’s go through the seasons, one at a time, and see the evolution of the characters, the company, and the show.

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