If You Make Movies Just for the Critics, They'll F*ck You Anyway
August 29, 2019 12:19 PM   Subscribe

When you’re a very active person and you make movies, shit will happen to you. What I say to film schools is making movies is not all blow jobs and sunglasses. Every shot is grunt work. And happily, there’s nothing I would have rather done. In Conversation: Joel Schumacher [CW: sex, the 60s, the 70s, AIDS, Woody Allen, Batman & Robin, &c.]
posted by chavenet (36 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite


 
I interviewed Schumacher around the time of Falling Down. He is a delightful interview, and has had as idiosyncratic a directing career as anyone's had, outside the "golden age" studio era.
posted by jscalzi at 12:29 PM on August 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


If you didn’t hire [Julia Roberts] then you shouldn’t be in the movie business. I mean, what were you waiting for?
That's hilarious... and accurate. I love how he refuses to pat himself on the back for noticing an obvious star was an obvious star.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 12:40 PM on August 29, 2019 [7 favorites]


am I unreasonable to question the value of a "CW: sex" at the end of a paragraph about blowjobs
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 12:44 PM on August 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


Looking at his filmography, I realize that I've only seen four of his: the two Batmans, Flatliners and The Incredible Shrinking Woman.
posted by octothorpe at 12:47 PM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Lost Boys is fantastic trash and he gets a lifetime pass for that.

Great interview.
posted by selfnoise at 12:53 PM on August 29, 2019 [11 favorites]


Not to spread Epstein-brain over everything but Joel directed two episodes of house of cards, you know the show starring Kevin Spacey right before his serial sexual assaults became public and I find some of those very carefully worded answers to those loaded questions very


Suspect.
posted by The Whelk at 1:00 PM on August 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


He was featured throughout the Halston documentary that just came out on CNN Films. I didn't know the connection, and thought it was very interesting.
posted by ApathyGirl at 1:07 PM on August 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


Metafilter's Summer of Schumacher continues!

(previously 1 2)
posted by roger ackroyd at 1:25 PM on August 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Shoulda stuck to Maching Schus.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 2:01 PM on August 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Loved this bit:
Siskel and Ebert were so outraged by St. Elmo’s Fire they did it two Sundays in a row. I was watching it, and I think I was getting dressed to go out or something, and I thought it was hilarious. They were in such umbrage about the behavior of these young people. And then they went into, “Well, we both were in college, and nothing like this ever happened in college.” And I screamed at the TV, “This movie’s about people who got laid, okay?”
posted by Atom Eyes at 2:04 PM on August 29, 2019 [8 favorites]


I've never cared for his films, and when I was in film school in the 90s, his career was derided constantly ('cause, of course, we all knew better). But that was a great interview. Thanks for posting it.
posted by dobbs at 2:12 PM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


yeah Lost Boys is a fucking gem and I will fight anyone who says otherwise
posted by skycrashesdown at 2:39 PM on August 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


Lost Boys and Flatliners both have...qualities, the former more than the latter. Also a bit of a sweaty fixation on Kiefer Sutherland.
posted by praemunire at 2:47 PM on August 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


the interviewer reads like a Presbyterian minister , being all scandalized by a pre-aids crisis gay man in hollywood having a lot of sex... like what?
posted by French Fry at 3:02 PM on August 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


Lost Boys is fantastic trash and he gets a lifetime pass for that.

I don't recall Lost Boys grabbing me. I don't think I made it to the end. St. Elmos Fire on the other hand -- I'd say it's so bad it's good, but that sells it all too short, both the bad and the good of it. I do know that I can always watch it, and no, the soundtrack has nothing to do with it. The soundtrack's just bad, except in the context of the bad, bad greatness of the movie.

But none of this could ever convince me that Mr. Schumacher has a clue of how to make a good movie on purpose.
posted by philip-random at 3:11 PM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Tigerland cemented his reputation for me after Falling Down established it. Amazing he made so much garbage as well.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 3:23 PM on August 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Lost Boys and Flatliners both have...qualities, the former more than the latter. Also a bit of a sweaty fixation on Kiefer Sutherland.

You say that like it's a bad thing.
posted by ApathyGirl at 3:34 PM on August 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


Wait... 10 to 20 *thousand* partners?? I mean, someone should definitely check my math, but that would average out to a new partner slightly more often than every three days... FOR SEVENTY YEARS.
posted by Meow Face at 3:45 PM on August 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


He’s great—i’ve Interviewed him for docs and DVD extras and he always had something unexpected to say.
posted by Ideefixe at 3:59 PM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


What a great interview. Despite Batman & Robin's issues, the scene in which Mr. Freeze makes a tiny sculpture of his wife to contemplate while imprisoned stands out as very sweet and a nice balance to the lurid weirdness of the rest of the movie.
posted by factory123 at 4:21 PM on August 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


"...that would average out to a new partner slightly more often than every three days..."

For square dancing reasons I'm friends with a lot of gay men, which also means I'm friends with a lot of gay men on social media, and it has been an education. I think you're thinking about "partner" wrong. I mean, sure, there are gay men in long-term monogamous relationships, but there's also a large culture of people who are all "I'm feeling horny, I'm gonna check Grindr and find someone to meet up with at lunch time... and after dinner... and...".

And before Grindr there were other ways to meet people. 10k/365 is 27.4 or thereabouts, if you figure once or twice a day, a couple of days a week, that's within a possible ballpark.
posted by straw at 5:00 PM on August 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


I cannot read about Joel Schumacher without thinking of George Clooney's Schumacher imitation on the Graham Norton show.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:07 PM on August 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


Sutherland’s David in Lost Boys was basically undead Ace Merrill from Stand By Me. Both of which are just 👌👄.
posted by Autumnheart at 5:53 PM on August 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


We’re not related but since my name is only one letter off I’ve gotten a few rambling voicemails for him over the years. Nothing interesting, however.
posted by plastic_animals at 7:56 PM on August 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


I am not a fan of his movies but the interview was interesting to read.

I find some of those very carefully worded answers to those loaded questions very


Suspect.


There was a clear change in tone on a few of the answers, where clearly he was watching his words cautiously.
posted by Dip Flash at 8:23 PM on August 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


And then they went into, “Well, we both were in college, and nothing like this ever happened in college.” And I screamed at the TV, “This movie’s about people who got laid, okay?”

Cool story, still a crap movie. I mean, it looked great, as befits the product of someone who went to fashion and design schools--I can think of at least one semester of my undergrad that I would have gladly traded for tooling around Georgetown in a Jeep in the fall--but Schumacher's catty remark shows his ignorance of the fact that just about everyone gets laid in regular college, even movie nerds.

But he's got plenty of other stuff to be proud of, and incredible range--it's kind of crazy how Falling Down is basically the precise polar opposite of his Batman movies, but is an incredibly accurate portrait of the kind of guy who thinks that he would himself be Batman, if he had the money. And The Lost Boys not only gets the shallow but seductive appeal of the Kool Kidz, but also what it's like to be the outsider younger brother with the weirdo friend. Maybe it's the presence of not only Kiefer but also Corey Feldman, but I totally get the Lost Boys/Stand By Me connection; The Lost Boys really is the kind of story that we might have gotten if Stephen King had looked at 'Salem's Lot in one hand and The Body in the other, shrugged, and wadded them up. Although I don't know if Shirtless Sax Guy would have shown up without Schumacher.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:29 PM on August 29, 2019 [3 favorites]


Love his screenplay for the movie Car Wash.
posted by porn in the woods at 5:18 AM on August 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


Not a lot of women in those film school audiences?
posted by agregoli at 5:35 AM on August 30, 2019


When you say Car Wash, I immediately think of D.C. Cab, and turns out, Joel did that one too!
posted by valkane at 5:49 AM on August 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


For anyone who wants to contrast a screenwriter's vision with a director's, I urge you to read the screenplay for 8mm by Andrew Kevin Walker. It's a fantastic read. Then, watch the movie directed by Schumacher. It is an abomination and there was not another writer in between. Make sure you read the script first, because if you watch the movie first, you won't ever want to read the script.
posted by dobbs at 6:06 AM on August 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


I really feel like I read a different interview than most of the rest of y'all. Seductive children. Nope. I don't care if he included himself on that, there is no such thing as a seductive child and I can't get past that. Just a big ass nope from me.
posted by shmurley at 9:12 AM on August 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


I don't recall Lost Boys grabbing me. I don't think I made it to the end. St. Elmos Fire yt on the other hand -- I'd say it's so bad it's good, but that sells it all too short, both the bad and the good of it. I do know that I can always watch it, and no, the soundtrack has nothing to do with it. The soundtrack's just bad, except in the context of the bad, bad greatness of the movie.

I saw St. Elmo's Fire in the theater with 5 girls. I went in a puny lonely teenage boy and came out of that movie theatre completely invisible to the girls I went in with. I've hated Rob Lowe ever since.
posted by srboisvert at 9:24 AM on August 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


Not my fave, but yeah, that script for Car Wash was really something.
posted by ovvl at 10:10 AM on August 30, 2019


I never realized that he directed the Incredible Shrinking Woman. I remember a friend's mom took us to see that one day when I was about 9 years old.
posted by sevenyearlurk at 10:28 AM on August 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


I saw St. Elmo's Fire in the theater with 5 girls. I went in a puny lonely teenage boy and came out of that movie theatre completely invisible to the girls I went in with. I've hated Rob Lowe ever since.

"This face seats five." (Yes, even though I thought it was a crappy movie, I still remember that line. The mind, she's funny sometimes.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:05 AM on August 30, 2019


I was lucky enough to see St. Elmo's Fire as part of a "sneak preview" double feature

with Perfect

I could die tomorrow and still feel like I've lived a long, long, life, cuz that night seemed to drag on forever.
posted by gusottertrout at 12:06 PM on August 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


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