11 Random Pieces of Joel Schumacher

Joel Schumacher!

Excerpt from the Tigerland extras.

Once upon a time the phrase “director Joel Schumacher” was a handy punchline and/or an unpleasant flashback trigger in many geek circles. Y’know, after what happened with the one (1) film. Never mind that he amassed over three dozen other credits over the course of his career, quite a few of which were eminently watchable and in some cases even respectable. Granted, that most notorious failure derailed a beloved film franchise for several years, hobbled a zillion-dollar merchandising machine for about ten minutes, and was a ludicrous betrayal to those of us who were perhaps a bit too unyielding in our stoic allegiance to Super Serious Super-Heroes.

I let that go years ago. Sooner or later all punchlines gets tired upon incessant repetition, most grudges get pointless as time passes, and some axes don’t need any more grinding.

I was sorry to hear of Schumacher’s passing on June 15th at age 80 after a year-long battle with cancer. Cancer sucks. Much as I’d love to write a definitive summation of his career, that’s best left to professional websites who underpay collaborative teams to compile such listicles from their combined viewing experiences. The following is a personal recollection of my encounters with his works from my teenage years to two months ago. It’s not a long list, or a logically organized or comprehensive one, but it’s mine.

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“Joker”: The Day the Clown Cried and People Died

Joker!

Toys and statues now available on Etsy and eBay! For other versions, check your local comic shops, big-box stores, Barnes & Noble toy sections, or good ol’ Amazon! Buy Joker stuff wherever you shop, work or bank!

Every review of Todd Phillips’ controversial Joker that I’ve read so far — and I’ve read several, none of them by youngsters who love DC Comics unconditionally, but not all of them scathing — has name-checked Martin Scorsese’s The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver because, per their consensus, the homage is so derivative that it’s practically an attempted reboot of both, or possibly the conclusion to the trilogy they never were.

I haven’t watched Taxi Driver in over twenty years, and I’ve yet to see The King of Comedy, which wasn’t available on any of my streaming-service subscriptions as of a week before release. Aside from noting how hard I snickered at an obvious, neutered copycat of the famous “You talkin’ to me?” scene, that means I can’t simply spend 1500 words deriding its Scorsese allusions scene by scene, and will instead have to come up with my own words and thoughts, as opposed to typing a derivative homage to all those other reviews. IF it turns out like that anyway, don’t blame me. It’s everyone else’s fault but mine.

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Adam West 1928-2017

Adam West and Burt Ward!

That time two Dynamic Duos met at Awesome Con Indy 2014.

Saturday morning, Anne and I were at a major event waiting to meet TV’s Dean Cain when news broke that the Adam West had passed away at 88 from leukemia. At first we didn’t believe it. Whether we’re in a small town or a big city, whether we’re among fellow geeks or ordinary folks, that’s the kind of allegation we don’t accept at face value.

“To the phones!” I half-jokingly shouted as we both clicked to our most trusted sources for confirmation. Alas, it was true. The moment was depressing yet sublimely absurd — here we are in line for Superman only to have someone tell us Batman is dead.

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Lego. Batman. Movie. Three Products in One!

Lego Batman Movie!

Sneak preview of Lego Batman arriving on the red carpet at next year’s People’s Choice Awards.

(Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na)
LEEEGOOO!
(Na na na na na na na na na na na na)
BAAATMAAAN!
(Na na na na na na na na na na na na)
MOOOVIEEE!
(Na na na na na na na na na na na na)
LEGO! BATMAN! MOVIE!
(Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na)
LEGO! BATMAN! MOVIE!
Da-da-da-da-da-da-da-dada-da-da-da-da!
TOY AAAAAAAAD!

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Old Guy with a PS3: Year 2 Results

Bioshock Infinite!

Pushing the boundaries of dark science fiction gaming: the dramatic Parisian cheese-shopping scene from Bioshock Infinite‘s DLC finale, “Burial at Sea – Episode 2”. Mmmm, brie.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover, this time last year:

As a kid, I frequented video arcades regularly. As a parent, my son and I spent a good decade playing games together on his various systems. When he graduated and moved away to college, he took all his systems with him, leaving me with only my old Nintendo that won’t play cartridges unless you keep the Game Genie firmly inserted, and an Atari Plug-‘n’-Play Controller I got for Christmas a few years ago that interested me for about two weeks. On Black Friday 2014, I decided I wanted back in the 21st century gaming mode and picked up a used PS3.

Naturally I started off a generation behind the rest of the civilized world, but I didn’t care. After fifteen months without, holding a controller felt abnormal and rusty for the first few weeks. Once I got used to it again and figured out how to disable the “Digital Clear Motion Plus” feature on my TV, I could shake the dust off my trigger fingers, choose the games I wanted to play, sprint or meander through them at whatever pace I saw fit, and try some different universes beyond Final Fantasy and our other longtime mainstays. The following is a rundown of my first year’s worth of solo PS3 adventures…

So this was my 2016 in retro gaming, in two or three short sessions per week, in the order played and with my trophy percentages included to reinforce the fact that I’m neither a gaming wizard nor a helpless grandpa:

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Indiana Comic Con 2016 Photos #2: Batman v. Deadpool: Dawn of Cosplay

Batwoman!

Maybe Batwoman could take Deadpool alone, but if Wonder Woman wants to cameo, no one’s gonna tell her no.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: Friday and Saturday, my wife and I attended the third annual Indiana Comic Con at the Indiana Convention Center in scenic downtown Indianapolis. In Part One you saw every viable costume photo we took on Friday. We caught so many cosplayers in action today that the Saturday results will be split into two (maybe three) entries.

In tonight’s gallery: another batch of Deadpool variants, which we suspect will be a thing for years to come, and heroes and villains from the Batman family, which kept catching our eye more than usual this time around. Enjoy!

Right this way for more fun with Gotham’s most wanted and the Merc with a Mouth!

The One With “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” In It

Batman v. Superman!

Which grim-‘n’-gritty breakfast mascot’s product do you think should win: Batman Chocolate Strawberry cereal or Superman Caramel Crunch cereal? Both are real things now in stores, and they’re banking on this movie to sell them somehow.

Look, everyone else online had a turn venting about Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice the past few days, so I want my turn now. The TL;DR version:

* Not the worst Zack Snyder film ever
* Definitely not the worst super-hero film ever
* It had good things in it
* The good things were outnumbered
* I don’t actively root against DC’s films to fail, but I’m not gonna mollycoddle them with blind adulation, because superheroes are not my religion
* Filmmakers still don’t get Superman
* This movie is more about superpowers than about superheroes
* I’ve been collecting comics for 37 years and I’m 98% certain I’m not this film’s target audience
* If Monday night’s Supergirl/The Flash crossover was an Earth-1 team-up, BvS is its Earth-3 doppelgänger

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C2E2 2015 Photos, Part 5 of 9: More Comics Costumes

Guardian of the Universe!

A lot of folks think guarding a single galaxy is an impressive feat. Try being a Guardian of the Universe for a day.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife and I went to C2E2 and took photos! Other chapters in the series:

Part 1: Costume Contest Winners
Part 2: The Rest of the Costume Contest
Part 3: Edge of Deadpoolverse
Part 4: Mighty Marvel Costumes
Part 6: Mystery Science Costume Theater 3000
Part 7: Last Call for Costumes
Part 8: Stars of Comics and Screens
Part 9: Random Acts of C2E2ing

Today’s feature: costumes from comics besides Marvel — their Distinguished Competition as well as a few other popular print sources.

Right this way for comics folks!

Awesome Con 2014 Photos, Part 1 of 3: Marvel and DC Costumes

Surf Joker!

Best Joker of the Year. Not just a fan creation, this getup was from a specific episode of the ’66 series that my wife remembers in detail. When the DVD boxed set comes out in November, her pain can be yours, too!

This weekend my wife and I attended the inaugural Awesome Con Indianapolis, the latest attempt to bring the geek convention life to our fair-sized city. The great and powerful Gen Con has had an established presence for years, but cons for other interests besides gaming have had mixed results. In March, the first Indiana Comic Con brought in actors from Game of Thrones and drew in a crowd of thousands that they were ill-equipped to handle, resulting in hundreds (at least) of angry citizens being locked out and turned away. At the end of May, the first Indy PopCon brought in a healthy mix of actors and comics creators, but attendance fell short of expectations. Awesome Con is our newest contestant, an expansion of a company whose previous efforts were in Washington, DC.

Like Indy PopCon, Awesome Con had no specific focus, mixing guests and dealers from the worlds of comics, gaming, TV, animation, and so on. We tried to keep our expectations modest after our previous experiences, but when the local news media kept boasting attendance expectations of 30,000+, particularly in light of the con’s numerous TV ads and interviews, we wondered if perhaps things would go differently this time.

More about that later. The important thing for now is, there were costumes! And photos of same!

Standard caveat for newcomers to MCC: This is something my wife and I enjoy doing, to show our appreciation and awe for those with the flair for this particular aspect of the scene. We apologize in advance for the costumes we missed, and for the non-professional results. Comments and especially corrections are always welcome and appreciated. She and I aren’t plugged directly into every single geek scene out there, so if you notice any wanton acts of mislabeling, please don’t hesitate to call me out. I enjoy learning about new worlds and universes, giving credit where it’s due, and dispelling my old man’s ignorance.

Right this way for round one!

MCC 2014 Pilot Binge #7: “Gotham”

Penguin!Sorry to join the party so late! Everyone else already watched the premiere of Gotham days ago on Fox and blogged, tweeted, Tumblr’d, or tin-can-on-a-stringed about it to all their circles, right? If everyone else is already over it, that means I can write whatever I want without fear of anyone reading it, right? Okay, cool. The way my week has gone, I’m considering using this space to update our grocery list and gauge its effect on site traffic.

For those who spent this week focusing on other things, or who don’t care about shows based on comics: Gotham tells the story of a young, stringy, ineffective toady named Oswald Cobblepot who spends his life groveling for a notorious crime lord and wishing people would stop bullying him. The ending has already been spoiled because fans of comics or old TV know Cobblepot will someday outgrow his ineptitude and mature into the formidable businessman known as the Penguin. Gotham, then, is his origin story, plus a half-dozen irrelevant subplots about far less interesting people.

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