It’s time to pick our last finalist for the Movies of 1988 bracket game. We have two offbeat comedies with cartoonish sensibilities. Who Framed Roger Rabbit? blended actual animated footage of iconic cartoon characters with a live-action spoof of film noir. While Beetlejuice basically introduced American audiences to the full glory of the Tim Burton aesthetic for the first time. Which one will get a shot at the crown? That’s up to you.
Over the course of this bracket game, we’ve talked a lot about what a great year 1988 was for comedy. But that’s a pretty broad umbrella. Both of our movies today could be classified as comedies, but aside from laughter they don’t share a lot in common. Bull Durham is equal parts sports movie and romantic comedy. A lot of the humor comes from how perfectly Ron Shelton captures a world he knew well; minor league baseball. Beetlejuice, on the other hand, is a fantastical creation filled with oddities without a sports team or a love triangle in sight.
Today’s bracket is one of my favorites. We have two wickedly funny comedies and as an added bonus they both feature Winona Ryder! These two movies launched the careers of not just Ryder but also Geena Davis, Alec Baldwin and Christian Slater. Both of these eccentric movies veered into dark territory in different ways. Beetlejuice introduced mainstream audiences to Tim Burton’s unfiltered imagination while Heathers is the most black-hearted high school comedy ever made. It’s up to readers to decide which creepy comedy advances to the next round.
While our two headliners have apparently never been photographed together, in researching this article I did learn that Tim Burton has a son named Billy Ray.
Director Tim Burton is turning 59 today. He made a pair of animated shorts while studying at the California Institute of the Arts, and worked for a short time as an animation apprentice at Disney. Paul Reubens saw a short that Burton made at Disney, and invited him to direct Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, a film that also saw the beginning of a durable partnership between Burton and composer Danny Elfman. Burton then directed Michael Keaton in two films—a comedy/fantasy titled Beetlejuice, followed by one of the most financially successful comic book adaptations ever brought to film.
Kevthewriter wonders why Tim Burton’s Willy Wonka remake was a hit.
Alice Through the Looking Glass is arguably one of the most surprising box office bombs this year. While I don’t think anyone predicted that it was going to replicate the box office success of its predecessor, I don’t think anyone thought it was going to bomb just as badly (if not worse) as The Lone Ranger and John Carter.
But why did it bomb?
Here are my theories:
Sir Sean Connery, who turns 86 today, got his first credited film role in 1957, and for several years he frequently had supporting parts, as in Disney’s Darby O’Gill and the Little People, or villains, as in Tarzan’s Greatest Adventure, where he met his end at the hands of Gordon Scott as Tarzan. But that changed in 1962, when Connery was cast in the role that, for better or worse, or a little of both, defined his career:
For the last couple of weeks, we have been looking back at Batman and Superman movies of the past. After ranking the movies starring Batman from worst to first, I asked readers to do the same. Usually, the reader rankings are pretty close to my own. But we’ve got some big differences this time. Overall, the votes were spread out more than usual reflecting a general lack of consensus.
Let’s take a look at how the readers ranked the Batman movies.
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Next Friday, Superman and Batman will appear on the big screen for the first time. Leading up to the release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, we’ll be looking back at the cinematic history of the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight. Last week, we ranked the Superman movies. So now it’s Batman’s turn.
On the whole, Batman has fared better than Superman at the movies. But overall, most of his movies still aren’t very good. Before we get started, a couple of ground rules. I’m only looking at live action Bat-films. So no Mask of the Phantasm or Lego Batman. Also, we’re starting with the ’89 Batman. The Adam West movie was an offshoot of the TV show anyway.
Michael Keaton started out as a manic comic and grew into an unlikely leading man and an even more unlikely super hero. As the first big-screen Batman, Keaton was able to make deals that secured him A-list work. But when he walked away from the Bat-franchise, Keaton’s opportunities dried up. Eventually, he all but disappeared from the spotlight.
What the hell happened?