Episode 41: Batman (1989, Tim Burton) Commentary Track Special

We the hosts of An Alan Smithee Podcast do not take the responsibility of heralding Batman ’89 over Christopher Nolan’s Batman Begins or The Dark Knight lightly.

Nor do we waver on the Solomonesque division of Tim Burton’s career into one brilliant period (1985 – 1996) and one banal (1999 – present.) The recent release of Alice In Wonderland 3-D has reminded us that everyone and their dog has an opinion on Tim Burton just as The Dark Knight gave everyone an opportunity to spout their two bits on Batman and Batman vis-a-vis Tim Burton, as the two names are after all forever related. The funny thing is that almost everyone is simply repeating something they heard from someone else or read on the Internet.

Listen, we mustn’t compare ourselves to regular people. We’re critics.

That’s why this week on An Alan Smithee Podcast we’ve recorded our second commentary track special since Rick Rosenthal’s Halloween II, so as to better enlighten the masses.

With incredible new “start the movie and this MP3 at the same time” technology, you’ll be privy to two hours and 6 minutes of hardened analysis from the two most level headed Batman and Tim Burton fans on the planet. Aspects mentioned in our commentary track include the The Dark Knight‘s plagiarism of the film, the hammy performances of William Hootkins and Jack Palance, the utter brilliance of Sam Hamm, Kim Basinger’s golddigging, the influence of Warner Brothers gangster movies, the tyranny of Prince, the tyranny of Jon Peters, how to quote Robert Wuhl in your everyday life, our mixed feelings on the Batwing, Batman and The Joker’s (separate) sex lives, how to quote Joseph Stalin in your everyday life, and the crazy eyed greatness of Michael Keaton.




Episode 20: Rooftops (1989, Robert Wise) / Matinee (1993, Joe Dante)

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This week in An Alan Smithee Podcast, Andrew and Matt become the ninth and tenth people to have seen Robert Wise’s theatrical swan song, Rooftops. Wise sure does love New York City, and his depiction of rooftop runaways in a generic part of Brooklyn often feels like a musical about homelessness about to break out and bust a move. Lost in the big, dumb and loud Summer of 1989, people are wan to forget some of the smaller big, dumb and loud movies, one which Andrew calls the worst we’ve seen yet. Considering we just saw ’89s Tango & Cash, that’s impressive.

Then it’s on to Matinee, where Joe Dante gives us the warm enveloping American nostalgia of 1962 without all the bullshit, AND KIDS WHO CAN ACT! Where did he find them? Gremlins 2 writer Charlie S. Haas deftly and jauntily tell the story of many, many things converging at once: young monster movie fan Gene’s new friends and romances in a new Florida town, the Cuban Missile Crisis, of which Gene’s father is stationed near, Gene’s touching relationship with his younger brother, plus 1993’s big star draw: John Goodman as Lawrence Woolsey, the ultimate fictionalized caricature of William Castle the horror movie gimmick master.

Dante’s extended movie-within-a-movie of Woolsey’s bug transformation shocker MANT! is pitch perfect. One of the best and most profound comedies about the magic of movies, Matinee is like the bright and colorful counterpart to Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, showing what movies mean to kids on the verge of adulthood and what the ritual of moviegoing meant to Americans of the atomic baby boom. Hence the mushroom cloud on the poster.