Velvet Batcave
January 12, 2015 9:52 PM   Subscribe

 
This is the greatest ever description of that flick (which I always think of as The One with the Nipple Suits): "a movie about two gay couples who fight each other in a city that looks like a giant molly-fueled nightmare." Totally plausible.
posted by gingerest at 10:01 PM on January 12, 2015 [10 favorites]


I've always loved it as an extension of the Batman 66 series that had a bigger budget and more direct subtext. Likt it was Shucmacher's high-camp gay fantasia of Batman from the TV show with all the tights and elbow-gloves and rubber outfits
posted by The Whelk at 10:03 PM on January 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm glad people enjoy it, but I have to admit that this essay is by far the most entertainment Batman Forever has afforded me to date.
posted by brennen at 10:09 PM on January 12, 2015 [18 favorites]


I mean... what's the alternate interpretation?
posted by cmoj at 10:10 PM on January 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


Like I love the idea that the Batman 66 universe was one where you would have queer themes and coded characters going full-tilt and being either HEROES or VILLAINS in fantastic outfits and crashing charity balls with big schemes while they al try to seduce each other in FABULOUS SETTINGS . and Batman Forever just picks up that neon baton and SHAKES it. The whole thing is a camp fever dream.
posted by The Whelk at 10:13 PM on January 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


YOu know, it's at once SUPER COMIC BOOK "Oh no! Boiling acid!!" and like , super gay. It's kind of wonderful for four-color comic fish-fulfillment.
posted by The Whelk at 10:16 PM on January 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't know.

Batman Forever took itself way too seriously to be camp, even a debased nineties sort of camp and I'm always leery of trying to redeem shite by calling it camp.

Sometimes something isn't so bad it's good, but just bad.

(Also, I hate calling the Batman television series Batman 66; as if there's ever been another. Yet another atrocity modern DC has inflicted on us.)
posted by MartinWisse at 10:33 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


yeah but it took it self serious in the way High Camp does. A kind straight-faced burlesque. Unlike low camp, it doesn't wink to the punters n the cheap seats so much. It is totally was whatt it is without apologia
posted by The Whelk at 10:41 PM on January 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


John Waters directing this.

That would be my dream version of Batman Forever.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 10:49 PM on January 12, 2015 [15 favorites]


a movie about two gay couples who fight each other in a city that looks like a giant molly-fueled nightmare

I'd so want to see this movie, if only this movie wasn't Schumacher's Batman Forever.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 10:51 PM on January 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


Seems like a good editing project for Steven Soderbergh.
posted by chainlinkspiral at 11:26 PM on January 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I remember seeing Batman Forever playing on DVD in a store where they'd switched the audio to the French language track. I think improved the film a bit, actually.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:34 PM on January 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


i think he over states this, for people I know who defend this film, its queer canon. i still think its the best one.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:53 PM on January 12, 2015


(Also, I hate calling the Batman television series Batman 66; as if there's ever been another. Yet another atrocity modern DC has inflicted on us.)

Say what you will about Gotham, the 90's Batman cartoon (right up until they cut the soul out of the art to make it look more like that stupid Superman cartoon) was outstanding.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:25 AM on January 13, 2015 [19 favorites]


What Pope Guilty said.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 12:34 AM on January 13, 2015


Yeah, The Animated Series is my canon. I watched that every day after school.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:45 AM on January 13, 2015 [5 favorites]


This is the greatest ever description of that flick (which I always think of as The One with the Nipple Suits)

I thought only the fourth movie (Batman & Robin) had the nipple suits. It also had terrible ice puns from Schwarzenegger. It's a far worse movie in terms of film making, but at least it is memorable for being so unbelievably bad. I only remember Batman Forever as being boring.
posted by Gary at 1:43 AM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


Man, I just dunno. I still think the fourth one is a much better throwback to the '60s, except that the actors and editors forgot it was meant to be a silly throwback instead of a Serious '90s Film
posted by DoctorFedora at 2:46 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's kind of wonderful for four-color comic fish-fulfillment.

That's going to leave rainbow trout feeling a bit left out.
posted by longbaugh at 3:14 AM on January 13, 2015 [6 favorites]


It also had terrible ice puns from Schwarzenegger

"Ice to see you ... to see you icy".

"Ice spy with my little eye, something beginning with ice".

"Ice say ice say ice say - what's all this then? Ice".

"Yo - collaborate and listen. Ice is back with a brand new invention: ice".

"I've been meaning to tell you / I've got this feelin' that won't subside / I look at you and I fantasize / You're mine tonight / Now I've got you in my sights / With these ... hungry ice".
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:50 AM on January 13, 2015 [23 favorites]


At least the first of the those was in the film, right? I mean: "r-ice-ght?"
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:53 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Ice say ice say ice say - what's all this then? Ice".

Wow. If only we could have heard Schwarzenegger imitate Foghorn Leghorn... The mind reels with delight!
posted by Slothrop at 4:07 AM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I cant believe Grant Morrison's predictions about the later 90s films are coming true.

Still, all the queer subtext cant save this film for me.
posted by kittensofthenight at 4:13 AM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


It's weird how forgotten Val Kilmer is these days, he's barely even mentioned in an article about a film he starred in.
posted by octothorpe at 4:31 AM on January 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Batman Forever's redeeming virtue for me was a killer soundtrack album. Nick Cave, Method Man, PJ Harvey, Massive Attack, Michael Hutchence with an awesome cover of The Passenger, Seal's cheesy megahit, even an alright U2 track.
posted by nicolas léonard sadi carnot at 4:52 AM on January 13, 2015 [8 favorites]


Oh, Batman. Yet another time when Hollywood offers neither real parts for women nor hot gay action.
posted by bile and syntax at 5:00 AM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I thought only the fourth movie (Batman & Robin) had the nipple suits. It also had terrible ice puns from Schwarzenegger. It's a far worse movie in terms of film making, but at least it is memorable for being so unbelievably bad. I only remember Batman Forever as being boring.
posted by Gary at 4:43 AM on January 13 [+] [!]


You really need to listen to the How Did This Get Made podcast for Batman & Robin.

And then when you're done with that, listen to the Superman III episode featuring Damon Lindelof.

Both episodes are entertaining and full of so much "What the fuck!?!"
posted by Fizz at 5:06 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's weird how forgotten Val Kilmer is these days, he's barely even mentioned in an article about a film he starred in.

Somewhere around the time of this movie and/or The Island of Doctor Moreau, Kilmer seemed to declare war on his own career by way of being impossible to work with. Schumacher seems to have forgiven him, to some degree (in interviews around the time of the release of one of the Nolan Batman movies, Schumacher said that he thought that Kilmer was still the best movie Batman), but at the time he swore never to work with Kilmer again.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:37 AM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is both obvious, and keeps insisting that Highsmith's novels weren't absolutely positively queer texts in the first place. I'm confused.
posted by libraritarian at 5:42 AM on January 13, 2015


Yeah, I mean, this is supposed to be a controversial interpretation? Throughout the movie, in the immortal words of Rupert Giles, "The subtext here is rapidly becoming, uh, text."
posted by kyrademon at 6:15 AM on January 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


The mentions this from Schumacher's Lost Boys:

albeit with the careful hand of a man who put a half naked Rob Lowe poster in the closet of a fashion-obsessed teenaged boy in The Lost Boys—get it?

But neglects to mention that the director also included a scene of Corey Haim sitting in a bath tub, singing "I ain't got a man, I ain't got a song, I'm a lonely girl, I ain't got no one" in falsetto.

Schumacher was abything but subtle.
posted by maxsparber at 6:44 AM on January 13, 2015


I recently rewatched both Schumacher films, and his vision of Gotham is by far my favorite. The colors! The giant, 1,200 foot statues interspersed among the skyscrapers! The neon coated street gang that shows up to get their ass kicked in both films!
posted by codacorolla at 7:25 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I remember seeing Batman Forever playing on DVD in a store where they'd switched the audio to the French language track. I think improved the film a bit, actually.

Yes! I came upon a French dub of Lynch's Dune on Canadian TV once, and had the same reaction! I don't hate the movie or anything, but even though I don't speak a word of French, there was something about it that just seemed to fit. I can totally see the same thing working for the Schumacher Batmans. (Batmen?)
posted by Naberius at 7:27 AM on January 13, 2015


Man, I just dunno. I still think the fourth one is a much better throwback to the '60s, except that the actors and editors forgot it was meant to be a silly throwback instead of a Serious '90s Film

Apparently during filming Schumacher kept telling actors to go bigger and broader and more cartoonish and only Uma Thurmon got the cue to basically play Mae West.

And now he's directing House of Cards episodes! Another campy soap opera with excellent production design.

( The tone of the 90s animated Batman is amazing, at once completely comic book and over the top and completely serious, but not leaden or self-serious and just skirting the line into camp. Vulture points out that Agent Carter seems to be going for the same tone, which is a very worthy goal to reach for.)
posted by The Whelk at 7:34 AM on January 13, 2015


You guys know that there's a moment of crossover between Batman: The Animated Series and the Schumacher Batsmen, right? It's from the episode "Legends of the Dark Knight", in which some kids from Gotham argue about what Batman really is. It's a great way to talk about the different images of Batman, whether from the Superfriends or Dark Knight returns. And then there's a little reference to a kid named Joel who, well, here's the video.

I don't think Robert Goodman or Bruce Timm liked Joel Schumacher's vision of Batman all that much.
posted by aureliobuendia at 7:50 AM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


"Legends of the Dark Knight"

Anybody know who did that segement? Stood out stylistically from the rest of the show and was some of the coolest batman I've seen.
posted by Trochanter at 7:56 AM on January 13, 2015


There's a scene in B&R where Mr. Freeze is urging his minions to sing sling to Mr. Coldmeiser while he's wearing arctic themed pajamas and conducting an imaginary orchestra. I feel that's one of the most Batman 66 scenes of the 90s movies.
posted by codacorolla at 8:17 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Anybody know who did that segement? Stood out stylistically from the rest of the show and was some of the coolest batman I've seen.

Which segment? There were three stories in the episode and each one had a different style. I'm not sure who did the first one (in the Batman '66 style), but the second, which was a Dick Sprang homage, was done by James Tucker, and the third - an adaptation of the first story in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns - is by Darwyn Cooke.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:19 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


When I saw Batman Forever in a bar with the sound off, that was when I realized it was some major New Queer Cinema. But iirc, Forever has the immortal kiss-off, when Dick Grayson turns down Wayne's offer to become his ward: "You go to a lot of biker bars, BRUCE?"
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:29 AM on January 13, 2015


yeah but it took it self serious in the way High Camp does. A kind straight-faced burlesque.

As I understand it Burlesque was pretty straight-faced too, mainly because Cher couldn't be arsed to ever change her expression.
posted by psoas at 8:44 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


You really need to listen to the How Did This Get Made podcast for Batman & Robin.

It is amazing, as is the one for Burlesque, cf. above

posted by psoas at 8:45 AM on January 13, 2015


Any nuance is lost in the noise, but Schumacher is doing what Hitchcock did before him

Yes, that much is clear. After all, just look at all the "tropes" shared by Batman Forever and Strangers on a Train:

* All scenes were filmed using a "camera"
* Cameras used a technology known as "film"
* Imaginary characters portrayed by real people, using a method known as "acting" (this reading may be stretching it in the case of BF)
posted by RogerB at 9:14 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish

Looks like I was thinking of something else. Mine was a prelude type of thing to Batman Gotham Knight. Three kids recount or make up Batman stories. They're super surreal.

It's called, Have I Got a Story for You.
posted by Trochanter at 9:27 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really tried to give How Did This Get Made a chance but I could never get past their horrible abuse of the word "literally" in every other sentence.

While the Golden Globes this weekend had several Batmen on display, they didn't feature who I will always see as the One True Batman -- Kevin Conroy.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:36 AM on January 13, 2015


I was working in a movie theater the summer Batman Forever came out, and I think my generally fond feelings toward it are tied up with the overall "Summer Blockbuster Opening" vibe. When you're got 400+ people in a good mood packing every weekend show in a sold-out THX theater, the energy is pretty infectious. To this day I can't hear that damn U2 song or that damn Seal song without feeling like I'm back in theater number 3 sweeping popcorn out from between the seats.

Also, at the time I remember a lot of people welcomed Schumacher's brightly colored camp after the overbearing Burton-ness of Batman Returns which had come out only a few years earlier. (I love Tim Burton, but I never really liked that one. It has too much of a "Playing with Batman action figures in a beautiful, gothic, but totally unrelated Edward Scissorhands playset" feeling.)
posted by usonian at 10:18 AM on January 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


I really tried to give How Did This Get Made a chance but I could never get past their horrible abuse of the word "literally" in every other sentence.

Eh, it's relatively benign as vocal tics go. Plus, they had a Best-Of Awards not long ago highlighting some of the most ridiculous moments from previous episodes, and one of the featured clips was The One Time We Actually Used "Literally" Correctly. So they're self-aware about it.
posted by psoas at 10:40 AM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think How Did This Get Made is a great idea for a show. I find those people hard to listen to, though. They think they're soo funny. I'm thinking I'll go listen to a few of them today, whatever that means.
posted by Trochanter at 10:49 AM on January 13, 2015


I loved Batman Returns more than any other major Batman film. The Penguin theme that Danny Elfman wrote gives me chills every time I hear it. It's a great thing that the set is so extravagant and ridiculous, because Danny DeVito chews so much scenery you'd worry that he'd eat the whole damn thing. And Michelle Pfieffer is simply a genius.
posted by Existential Dread at 11:04 AM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


It's called, Have I Got a Story for You.

Oh! That's by Studio 4°C, a Japanese animation house that's turned out some fucking awesome stuff. I'm a big fan of their anthology projects, Genius Party and Sweat Punch.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:31 AM on January 13, 2015


It's weird how forgotten Val Kilmer is these days

He played one character's step-dad in Palo Alto, but was nearly unrecognizable -- and I had the distinct impression that the demographic for the film would have barely had an idea who he is.

(One of the other main characters is his son, Jack, and it's a fun game to spot celebrity children (and other relatives) in that film.)
posted by dhartung at 12:24 PM on January 13, 2015


Somewhere around the time of this movie and/or The Island of Doctor Moreau, Kilmer seemed to declare war on his own career by way of being impossible to work with.

And he was known for being super duper hot until he wasn't anymore from that point too. Do you think maybe he caught something from Brando on the set?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:43 PM on January 13, 2015


I watch a lot of trash cinema (usually on purpose), but I couldn't even get through 15 minutes of Kilmer acting in Coppola's Twixt. Hooooo doggy, what a stinker.

Also, this thread is making me want to do a "Cinema Garbage Fire" club in Fanfare... any interest in watching flops and then talking about them?
posted by codacorolla at 12:55 PM on January 13, 2015


Speaking of that Hitchcock film: David Fincher, Ben Affleck, and Gillian Flynn are remaking Strangers On a Train
posted by octothorpe at 1:12 PM on January 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


And then there's a little reference to a kid named Joel who, well, here's the video yt .

hmmm that's a bit uuh ... :/
posted by The Whelk at 1:18 PM on January 13, 2015


And he was known for being super duper hot until he wasn't anymore from that point too.

Well, he still had it around the time of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang (2005)... which was 10 years ago... and 10 years after Batman Forever.

Jesus, time is telescopic.
posted by psoas at 2:30 PM on January 13, 2015


> "... they didn't feature who I will always see as the One True Batman -- Kevin Conroy."

Olan Soule gets no love.
posted by kyrademon at 5:23 PM on January 13, 2015


Also, at the time I remember a lot of people welcomed Schumacher's brightly colored camp after the overbearing Burton-ness of Batman Returns which had come out only a few years earlier.

There was totally a huge amount of buzz about how Returns was just too dark and how Forever was going to revitalize the comic roots of the franchise, and I remember not understanding that at all when I was 12, because Returns had machine gun toting penguins patrolling the streets.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:02 PM on January 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


Thanks for posting about the Strangers on a Train remake, Octothorpe. It was on my mind too. I'm curious whether they will stick with the gay subtext of the original film. It's a pretty deep subtext IMHO, folks in my mother's generation never would have even consciously been aware of it. But the romantic obsession between the men is the essential thing that makes the story work.

This essay was fun but way more words than I ever thought I'd read again about Batman Forever. Plus I completely hate Jim Carrey so it's hard to get excited about those parts.

Lost Boys stands up very well to a remake, if you want to watch more gay fantasy cinema.
posted by Nelson at 8:23 AM on January 14, 2015


The Fright Night remake also keeps up the gay subtext pretty well.
posted by The Whelk at 8:25 AM on January 14, 2015


> "Plus I completely hate Jim Carrey so it's hard to get excited about those parts."

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was one of the best movies of the aughts, so I'm willing to spot him a few for that.
posted by kyrademon at 8:43 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's a pretty deep subtext IMHO, folks in my mother's generation never would have even consciously been aware of it.

FWIW this is not true. Some of the movie's first critics remarked on it specifically. The way the sexual subtext of the movie is seen has obviously changed a lot since 1951, particularly in how people have seen Guy's side of the relationship, but Bruno was seen as homosexual from the first viewings.
posted by RogerB at 8:52 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


The scene on the train made the sexual subtext much more obvious in the original cut but the studio make Hitchcock tone it down for the release. That cut is on the the DVD but I haven't seen it.
posted by octothorpe at 9:36 AM on January 14, 2015


That cut is on the the DVD but I haven't seen it.

IMO as someone who's watched both cuts a number of times, it's surprisingly hard to tell the difference from our perspective. It's not like The Big Sleep or something; there's only a small amount of different material and none of it is, like, Bruno licking Guy's earlobe or whatever you'd take to be an "obvious" unambiguous hallmark of the sexual dynamic. As best I recall, the main difference in this regard is that the initial cut underlined a little bit more clearly that Bruno was unhealthily attached to his mother, which of course was a Fifties pathologized idea about male homosexuality.
posted by RogerB at 9:46 AM on January 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'd just like to report that I watched Batman and Robin for the first time since I was about 13, and... yup.

Ironically, I'm pretty sure the critique by just such a churlish 13-year-old in 1997 was likely to be, "That movie was gay."
posted by cmoj at 1:14 PM on January 14, 2015


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