Five Favorite Films with Joel Schumacher

Summary

Veteran director Joel Schumacher has had an eclectic, sometimes distinguished, and never less than colorful career across four decades in Hollywood. Though for some his name is synonymous with the camp excesses of Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, the self-described "street kid from New York" boasts a much deeper and more varied filmography that includes cult gems, blockbuster thrillers and tense, micro genre pieces. With his latest, the heightened home invasion thriller Trespass, starring Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman, in theatrical release this week, we spoke candidly with Schumacher about his career. Read on to hear his thoughts on Batman, including how he wanted to direct The Dark Knight and almost cast Nicolas Cage as the Scarecrow, his admiration for Christopher Nolan's films, and his preference for smaller, darker films. But first, after much agonizing, he laid down his all-time five favorite films. Back to Article

Comments

Brad and Netflix

Bradly Martin

I don't think it's weird when "not so good" actors or directors like great Cinema. After all, I love the Cohen brother films but I'm not a big shot Hollywood director.

Oct 12 - 08:15 AM

Jonathan K.

Jonathan Kapp

Still a big fan of the movie "Falling Down"...that film came out shortly after the LA Riots and I think it really dealt with race, urban issues, the stress of our modern world, and the differing ways to deal with it. You had two characters that find themselves at the end of their career- Michale Douglass and Robert Duvall-two great actors, which need no introductions Michael Douglas's character, known as "D-Fens" has been laid off and has caused his wife to leave him and get a restraining order, but refuses to admit it to himself even as, in Douglass's words, the character is "insane"..., and Robert Duvall's character, who is about to retire after years of service, and sadly, little respect, from LAPD, )...and we see the different ways that these characters deal with this loss, which teaches the audience more than any class could.
"D Fens" goes off on everyone, going from a bat to switchblade to guns, while the cop keeps his cool, keeps his sense of humor, and in the face of NO REPSECT from his colleagues, still manages to solve the crime and save the lives of two innocent people.
There is just a lot going on in the film, and while it is funny in many respects, ultimately that was a serious film with a lot to say about our society and how we really need to just be more kind to each other in daily life. Just cant say enough on how well made that movie is. Falling Down aint no "fun" popcorn film, it is a tense thriller in many respects, but it just says so much in it's short run time...a great film

Oct 12 - 08:41 AM

Valmordas

Val Mordas

Falling Down is a classic. Everything else he has done stinks to high heaven.

Oct 13 - 03:33 AM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

It's got 8 seconds of extra footage, I hear it entirely changes the tone of the movie :) - Howard Walowitz on Big Bang Theory discussing Blade Runner.

Oct 12 - 09:12 AM

CFM

'schak Attack

Read the whole interview. He mentions Kubrick at the end of his Top 5 list.

Oct 12 - 09:28 AM

2d colorblind

2d Colorblind

Nobody says he doesn't

Oct 12 - 05:26 PM

Myron

Myron Kinsey

read the comment again im referring to the fact hat he mentions Kubrick but doesn't put a film on his list

Oct 12 - 07:27 PM

Nathan S.

Nathan Sellers

Totally.

Oct 12 - 09:35 AM

Sarfaraz Abbasi

Sarfaraz Abbasi

I like his favorites 'Double Indemnity' and 'Blade Runner' the way he has reviewed them here, is what I always felt about these films.

Oct 12 - 10:25 AM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

Great episode.

Oct 12 - 11:02 AM

The Reaper

Iron Will

These aren't his top five, he's just picking movies at random that he likes. Good flicks but a lame way to go about it.

Oct 12 - 01:27 PM

Dave J

Dave J

You should read about what he says about War & Peace- it's quite enlightening and it's a 100!

Oct 12 - 02:54 PM

Dave J

Dave J

Films longer than 2 hours are sometimes better appreciated at home, for the exception of "The Lord of the Rings" films

Oct 12 - 02:55 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I actually enjoy the Tolstoy book, so patience was not the problem. Bonderchuck's visual style was frequently flat and bland, like a TV movie or something. It's an acknowledged classic, so what do I know? But that's my opinion. I don't think it compares with the compositions and fluidity of Andre Tarkovsky, and you may know that he is not the most kinetic of filmmakers.

Oct 12 - 03:43 PM

Dave J

Dave J

It's interesting that you should say that, since I remember a recent episode of Ebert's Sneak Previews, and he says he prefers not to have read the book first, otherwise he'd start nitpicking on things that should've been shown, but the other thing is that, normally books are more superior than the movies that they are based on, is whether certain things translate well as seeing them on film!

Oct 12 - 08:29 PM

Noah Abraham G.

Noah Abraham Goucher

I, for one, couldn't particularly stand the book. I think the war scenes were well-written, and the life of the Russian aristocracy was tolerable for about three hundred pages, but the constant ESSAYS about HISTORY, and what it means to be a historian... I didn't like it, and I don't think the story was good or compelling enough to excuse it. Victor Hugo's Les Miserables was a little better about it, but I think Les Mis is the greatest story of all time, and even THEN I don't like the book that much.

Oct 13 - 01:11 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Or compare with Melville's "Moby Dick". That style, full of excrutiating detail and digressions, is an aquired taste, but I enjoy it. One could make a comparison with the cinema style of Malick (speak of the devil).

Oct 13 - 02:02 PM

Dave J

Dave J

They're only two definite versions of Blade Runner released onto theatres, as far as I know. In my opinion, the original version is more superior than the directors cut, since the ending seems to be more definite. The directors cut just shows Harrison closing the door and that's it, but the original version has further narration from Harrsion Ford! Interesting footnote of this film, but read somewhere that Blade Runner is also Harrison's most toughest acting gig he has ever done, and doesn't want to be reminded about it ever again, which is why he doesn't talk about his film experience regarding that film! Extremly influential because of the setting and tone, from Akira to every kind of dark/ bleak space movie ever made, since some space films look nice!

Oct 12 - 03:04 PM

Movie Monster

Bentley Lyles

Nice picks, Joel.

Oct 12 - 03:21 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

I actually enjoy the Tolstoy book, so patience was not the problem. Bonderchuck's visual style was frequently flat and bland, like a TV movie or something. It's an acknowledged classic, so what do I know? But that's my opinion. I don't think it compares with the compositions and fluidity of Andre Tarkovsky, and you may know that he is not the most kinetic of filmmakers.

Oct 12 - 03:43 PM

Dave J

Dave J

It's interesting that you should say that, since I remember a recent episode of Ebert's Sneak Previews, and he says he prefers not to have read the book first, otherwise he'd start nitpicking on things that should've been shown, but the other thing is that, normally books are more superior than the movies that they are based on, is whether certain things translate well as seeing them on film!

Oct 12 - 08:29 PM

Noah Abraham G.

Noah Abraham Goucher

I, for one, couldn't particularly stand the book. I think the war scenes were well-written, and the life of the Russian aristocracy was tolerable for about three hundred pages, but the constant ESSAYS about HISTORY, and what it means to be a historian... I didn't like it, and I don't think the story was good or compelling enough to excuse it. Victor Hugo's Les Miserables was a little better about it, but I think Les Mis is the greatest story of all time, and even THEN I don't like the book that much.

Oct 13 - 01:11 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Or compare with Melville's "Moby Dick". That style, full of excrutiating detail and digressions, is an aquired taste, but I enjoy it. One could make a comparison with the cinema style of Malick (speak of the devil).

Oct 13 - 02:02 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Without giving away any spoilers, I'll just say that I prefer the ambiguity of the director's cut. I strongly recommend anyone who has not seen it to judge for themselves. And, yes, read the book as well. It has a different tone, not as moody and almost humorous at times, and much better inner dialogue than the voice-over narration of the standard release film.

Oct 12 - 03:47 PM

John T.

John Taylor

I simply can not like Blade Runner. Like every other movie based on a book, they've taken a good idea and just changed it so much as to be entirely unenjoyable. At least they had the decency to change the title for this movie. This is probably one of the best examples of why Hollywood should not make movies based on books. As far as science fiction goes, the other best example would be Starship Troopers. I mean, when you change the main character from Filipino to white bread, you can't go anywhere, but downhill from there. What happened to the exoskelton jump suits? That would have made for great special effects. And on and on.

Oct 12 - 03:50 PM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

Agreed about Blade Runner, but I liked the cheese of the FIRST Starship movie (admittedly, I've never read the book) - but the sequels were AWFUL.

Oct 12 - 05:38 PM

Bigbrother

Big Brother

Soooooo, The Godfather and Gone With The Wind should never have been made? Saying that Hollywood should never adapt films from books is an awfully broad statement and one that's hard to back up since some of the greatest movie's in history Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings, all the incarnations of Peter Pan, everything Disney has ever done outside of The Lion King would all be gone.

Oct 13 - 05:53 AM

Peter W.

Peter Winters

Heinlein's ST is pointless glorification of war.

Oct 14 - 09:41 AM

Sputnik99

sputnik 99

It seems a lot of people are unforgiving because of this guys Batman duds. His success rate is just as good as any standard director out there. If he didn't have some talent, he wouldn't get work, ya know? I believe him when he says the studios demands are what changed Batman, not some level of idiocy on his part.

Be nice.

Oct 12 - 03:57 PM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

Despite the massive success of Batman Returns, WB didn't have any interest in another "dark" Batman movie (MAN, have times changed!!) - so when Burton came to the studio with his idea for a third movie, he could tell they didn't want another Batman movie from him. So yes, WB wanted a lighter Batman.

Oct 12 - 05:40 PM

Janson Jinnistan

Janson Jinnistan

Accessory after the fact.

Oct 13 - 12:47 PM

King  S.

King Simba

I wouldn't put all the blame of the studio. They said they wanted a lighter film that could sell toys. They didn't say they wanted nipples on the batsuits, dialogue filled with nothing but bad puns, rubber lips, or cameras focusing on the rear ends of Batman and Robin, and all the rest of the stuff Schumacher put in those films. If he wanted to do a dark batman film and wasn't allowed then he either should have quit or tried to work with the studios restraints. A lighter Batman film could work in the right hands. Look at the 1966 Batman film. It was incredibely cheezy yet in a good funny way. Also, it's not like the rest of Schumacher's career has been that hot. He's made a few classic, like The Lost Boys, yet a lot of his films have been pretty bad. Batman and Robin isn't even the worst reviewed film of his career. Both the Number 23 and Twelve have even worse reviews.

Oct 13 - 01:39 PM

Noah James

Noah Kinsey

Yea, he's completely to blame for B&R. I was referring to the horrible Batman Forever - where Jim Carrey played Jim Carrey, and Tommy Lee Jones played Jim Carrey. But the follow-up was all him. B&R not only killed the Batman franchise, but also the entire superhero genre, for YEARS!

Oct 14 - 10:25 AM

mjprogue

Mike PArker

8mm is one of the greatest movies ever...even if all of his other movies suck (though not all do) he deserves credit for that piece of awesomeness

Oct 12 - 04:32 PM

2d colorblind

2d Colorblind

Nobody says he doesn't

Oct 12 - 05:26 PM

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