Payday May is in full swing at You Love to See It where we take a look at actors who were paid egregious amounts of money to play make-believe on film. And the performance that landed Jack Nicholson’s wildly lucrative deal on 1989’s Batman is first up on the chopping block — I mean the guillotine — I mean the podcast. Nicholson took the role for a little less than his usual rate at the time in exchange for a deal that factored in things like merchandising that reportedly got him $90 million. That’s more money than any of us will ever see in several lifetimes. And this week, to help discuss it all is friend-of-the-shop: Harper Jay of Doublefine!
Danielle’s already provided our very extensive show notes if you’d like to follow along that way, but I’m also transcribing each episode starting with this very one right here! In addition to being able to read our episodes, I’ll also be providing links to articles, videos and anything else we reference on the show. So think about these transcripts as a bit of an enhanced experience.
I’ll be working on catching typos, providing all of those juicy nonverbal details, and evolving transcripts as we move forward so any feedback is greatly appreciated. Hit me up the You Love to See It channel in our discord over at fanbyte.casa or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve got any notes for me. I’m open to all suggestions!
EXT. FANBYTE CITY – EVENING
Some very chill 80s-inspired music plays as we slowly move from an extreme wide shot of the sun setting on the city into a quiet main street revealing the You Love to See It store, complete with two cardboard cutouts of Jean Claude Van Damme and Sigourney Weaver in the window.
Through that same window, a view of the carpeted store inside emerges. Shelves line the walls and form aisles full of bright red VHS tape covers.
INT. YOU LOVE TO SEE IT STORE – CONTINUOUS
Fernanda, store uniform rolled up to accentuate her cool tattoos, sits behind the counter with her feet kicked up, reading a dog-eared copy of An Oral History of Batman. Standing next to her is Danielle, in the perfect combo of workout gear and her store uniform.
You walk through the front door and the bells chime, they both look over at you.
[00:00:00] Danielle: Oh, hi there. And welcome to You Love to See It. Fanbyte’s movie review podcast. Every month we pick a theme and every week we watch a movie and then we decide where it belongs in our delightful neighborhood video store. If it’s danced with the devil in the pale moonlight and earns a spot in our esteemed staff picks shelf, if it’s, you know, competent enough at martial arts to secure a spot in our totally adequate middle aisle.
Or if it’s fallen into chemical waste and therefore earns a spot in our shameful, revolting roach-infested dumpster, where the guy who later played the joker would sprain his ankle by kicking it so hard. Working the counter today, we have yours, truly: Danielle “decent people shouldn’t live here” Riendeau and my usual partner in crime: Fernanda “this town needs an enema” Prates. How are you today, Fernanda?
[00:01:19] Fernanda: Doing good. Happy to be here once again, displaying my very mature sense of humor in my choice of nickname.
[00:01:27] Danielle: It’s a really, it’s a good nickname. I like, I like that we both like picked one from like the same scene, which makes me feel like we’re on the right page.
And we have a really, really special guest today. I am delighted to introduce folks to “Average- sized” Harper Jay from DoubleFine. Harper, how are you doing today?
[00:01:47] Harper: I’m good. You’ve you oversold me quite. You’re like this, I’m super excited and I’m, and I’m like, oh gosh. Oh man. Wow. I better, I better knock it out of the park. (Danielle and Fernanda both laugh)
[00:02:00] Danielle: I know that you will.
[00:02:02] Harper: Oh yeah, this is, this is not my first rodeo. I’ve done a few podcasts in my, in my life. Maybe too many, maybe far too many.
[00:02:11] Danielle: You ever think about that? Like I may have, I may have podcasted too much. I sometimes think that! I sometimes think that. (Danielle laughs)
[00:02:19] Harper: I end up on shows about a variety of things. They’re like, Hey, do you want to talk about Gundam? And I’m like, yeah. And you were like, do you wanna talk about Batman? And I was like, yeah, sure. Hit me with that. (Danielle and Fernanda laugh)
So, you know, that’s pretty good. Like that, that was the year I was born, which in my brain, I go, man, that was not that long ago. And then I go, Hmm, Hmm. (Fernanda laughs)
It was a little bit long ago. So…
[00:02:45] Danielle: I was five. But we will, we will get into that. And I actually do remember it. So I understand I get it. I get it. And I guess speaking of the movie, I should probably introduce our theme and our movie this week. (funky music playing) so we’ve moved into a new month, which is very exciting. And it is payday May. That is, we are watching movies where an actor, infamously got a massive, massive honking paycheck from a movie, you know, according to Hollywood legend and or the actual reporting we could find on the subject.
So get ready for big budgets. Big egos and big, bold spectacles as we dive all the way into payday May. And this week we’re kicking off Payday May with Batman, the 1989, Tim Burton, Batman where Jack Nicholson reportedly took on the iconic role of Joker for like a fairly mundane for him, original paycheck, but nailed an absolutely killer sweetheart deal on things like merchandise and ticket receipts, and all sorts of stuff.
So according to his official biographer, after worldwide sales and the merch deals and all the goodies that he kind of had in his contract, he probably took home something close to $90 million (cash register sound plays) in 1989, 1990, which is a truly staggering amount of money for popping on that purple suit and jokerring it right up through Burton’s messy Gotham city.
(movie trailer plays)
[00:04:27] Danielle: So welcome now to our first segment, which is called setting the scene, where we introduce the movie at hand and have a little spoiler free chat about our history with it. But first I have a little synopsis that I wrote here. I’ve prepared material today. (clears throat) This is my brief summary of the movie: Batman, not to be confused with The Batman, which just came out or Batman Begins or any of the other 6 million reboots of DC’s franchise in the last 35 years. This is Tim Burton’s 1989. Super smash hit about a very rich man who dresses up like a bat and beats up criminals. This is starring Michael Keaton as said, rich guy in a bat suit, Jack Nicholson as the original movie joker with that Jokerfied payday that we already kind of discussed. And Kim Basinger as a hot photo journalist, I would say that this one has incredible production design and a soundtrack by Prince, which is interesting. But I do suspect that our panelists will be all over the place in how it kind of holds up today. So I’m going to ask you Harper, what your history with the movie is like, have, have you seen it before?
How many times have you seen it? Was it formative to your childhood? Was it not? It sounds like this was not the Batman that you grew up with so that’s something to start with…
[00:05:39] Harper: No, no, not quite. My, my Batman is Batman Forever with Val Kilmer and Chris O’Donnell and Jim Carrey and all that. I can tell you one of my, I think it might be my earliest actual memory though involves Batman which was at my third birthday party. It was my uncle, Larry who has since passed away. He passed away when I was very, when I was quite young. But he, I got some sort of joker toy and the toy was able to squirt water from its flower. (Danielle laughs) And he was like, he was like, Hey, look at this. And I leaned forward because I’m a child, He squirted me in the face! (Danielle and Fernanda laugh)
And I remember, I’m a child.
[00:06:17] Fernanda: “And this is why I have trust issues!” (Danielle and Fernanda laugh)
Yeah, I don’t very much, don’t let people into my life for awhile. Right? Like my experience with Batman revolves around this movie in a sense, right. The iconography of, of what is presented as Batman in, in pop culture, when I’m growing up is largely this and maybe a little bit of like 1960s, Batman, but not so much, you know, if you get a Batman cake in 1992 or 1993 or something, then it’s, it’s mostly based off of this and not like colorful wacky Batman it’s yeah. And back in the day, they were like, oh, this movie Michael Keaton’s so brooding and boy, they, no one knew the brooding heights that we were going to go to in the next, like every decade, just getting more broodier and broodier. (Danielle laughs)
[00:07:07] Danielle: Yes, that’s absolutely true. And a very good point. And Fernanda, what is your history with this very broody broody movie, a broody Keaton. I don’t know. There’s nothing there for a transition. I’m sorry! (Danielle laughs)
[00:07:21] Fernanda: I Feel like this helps explain why I’m not, I’m not a fan of Batman, the character. Exactly. And I like a sad boy. Like I like a sad boy. A brooding sad boy done-
like, I love Daredevil the Netflix Daredevil, which is very much brooding and annoying, kind of boring, but this I’ve- Batman himself. He’s no fun. He’s just no fun. He’s like a very rich billionaire dude who could do a bunch of cool shit. But then like he wears his little cape and he fights crime, but like not in a fun way.
I dunno. I don’t like it. And I too, I feel like Harper and I are probably around the same age because I also grew up more with Forever and by grow up, I mean, it was the thing that was on TV. I didn’t really have a relationship to it. And then when I was like, in my early twenties, that’s when I decided to like, kind of go back from this Batman and sort of watch all of them.
And I decided I actually really liked the Batman’s that everybody hates Forever. And I believe it’s Batman and Robin, the one with Schwarzenegger as Mr. Freeze. I will defend that movie, I would say forever, but maybe just until we rewatch it. (Danielle and Fernanda laugh)
And I decided I love those and I never liked, Nolan’s Batman’s sorry, listeners. I feel like this is one of my most controversial takes. Just exactly, because of the reasons we were talking about, because Batman got broody-er? You, your words are hard over the years. And it’s just not my thing in general, but yeah, that’s kind of like my, my history with it.
I had only like fully seen this one once, like 10 years ago. And then again, last night for our beautiful show today and I feel like yeah, we have some just judging by our chats and our notes. I feel like we have, we have some juicy stuff to, to discuss today. We might be on a rare disagreement vibe today, Danielle.
[00:09:36] Danielle: It might be. Yeah. Harper, just in case you weren’t aware we do actually normally have very similar tastes in movies. Although occasionally we do have these moments where we have to shake hands and walk away from one
[00:09:48] Fernanda: agree to disagree (Danielle and Fernanda both laugh)
[00:09:50] Harper: You can yell at each other. That’s fine. Friends yell at each other all the time.
[00:09:56] Danielle: Especially about movies.
[00:09:58] Fernanda: Yeah. Maybe we’ll get more listeners if who were a little more combative, Maybe today is the day, Danielle
[00:10:05] Danielle: that might be true. Well, I’ll, I’ll briefly talk about my history with this movie. I remember it coming out and being a huge deal. So I was five at the time, just barely aware of the world, but I kind of grew up, I think in a, I wouldn’t say like super movie buff household, but definitely a household that loved movies and watched a lot of movies and, you know, just was always interested in like what’s going on and, you know, et cetera, et cetera.
So I was aware of this happening. My parents had a. I swear. I think I came in at like a cereal box, but like a bank that was Michael Keaton, Batman, like a plastic bank for pennies, like a penny bank. (Danielle laughs) And we had that damn thing forever. So I like recall this being a cultural event. I remember liking this movie.
I remember liking Jack Nicholson in this movie and thinking it was funny and I sort of semi remember Prince stuff being around this movie. So that’s kind of, kind of what I remember probably. Like these are the things I would remember. And I remember liking it and I probably hadn’t seen it since probably college.
So we’re talking about, oh, it may have been 20 years actually. To be honest with you, ago since I’ve seen this movie, that’s a long time. I’m gonna be honest , I don’t think it holds up super well. I think it actually, isn’t great. (Fernanda laughs) Other than a couple of cool things, I love the production design. I really do. And I genuinely loved Jack Nicholson in this movie, but other than that, I don’t know if this holds up so hot, but that’s okay. Again, we might agree to disagree and that means we’re going right into our, stripping it down. Section a brief warning. Of course, before we brush up on our Jokering we are about to enter the spoiler filled zone. This is stripping it down where we’ll talk about anything.
So just in case, you’re worried about being spoiled on a movie from 1989 ,
[00:11:51] Fernanda: this 32 year old movie. (Danielle and Fernanda laugh) The ending of Batman is truly one of the, the, the, the things that you need to it’s like the ending of the sixth sense, like
[00:12:07] Harper: I cried!
[00:12:08] Danielle: Heavily guarded secrets here for this movie. Just in case you get mad about that sort of thing. Some people do we are going to be spoiling Batman 1989.
(Smooth Sax transition music plays, baby)
[00:12:33] Danielle: oh my God. All right. Well, we’ve got a few items here. Again, I’ve, we’ve prepared our notes which I now post I‘ve been posting these notes and it’s been really fun to kind of post them and be like, Hey, this is what we were thinking going into this. But Fernanda I wanted to start with you because you had kind of the explanation for why we picked why we picked this one, why we picked the Nicholson windfall
Cause I think he took the movie for 6 million. He normally a movie had to be 10 million for his paycheck, which was a lot in 1989. So he took like what he would have considered a cut to make that sweetheart deal. It sounds like, do you want to read a little bit of this or do you want to just discuss a bit about how he made this very, very forward facing deal to make so much fucking money off of this performance?
[00:13:17] Fernanda: Yeah. Well, first let’s dive into my very intricate process of selection. Cause I was the one who suggested this month’s theme I was like, may, what rhymes with may so I put on Google “words that rhyme with May.” And then I saw a thing it said pay day. And I was like, that sounds cool. So I came up with Payday May.
[00:13:41] Fernanda: I came up with the theme and I put on Google, “which roles have made the most money for their actors?” And I think it was a Yahoo list that this was in and he had a couple of sources. I think one was entertainment weekly. And then I ended up on this post on screen rant in which they explained exactly this, that, and it says, I’m going to quote now:
“Since this was the studio’s top choice for the role Jack Nicholson received a pretty sweet deal overall to play the joker in Batman, he was entitled to a certain amount of leisure time away from set per filming day, able to attend all home games of his famously favorite NBA team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and requested his scenes all be shot with at a certain portion of production.”
That seems you don’t even need all the money with all the perks, but yeah, apparently he’s a, he negotiated down from his usual salary, which was like, you said, 10 million and negotiated for only 6 million. But he took what seems to be a gamble because back then the superhero movies were not the massive thing that they are today.
He wanted a percentage of the profits, which covered also merchandise beyond the box office. And here’s, I’m quoting again “in 1989 superhero movies weren’t the guaranteed blockbusters they are today. So Nicholson and his reps made a forward thinking deal one, which paid off massively Batman gross ed 411 million worldwide on a 35 million budget.”
“And that’s before even figuring in huge sales of joker toys and other merchandise. While Nicholson has never revealed exactly how much cash she made off playing the joker. It’s confirmed to be somewhere between 60 million with Nicholson biographer, Mark Elliott, estimating that the actor actually walked away with closer to 90 million. That’s a whopping 194 million when adjusted for inflation. It’s still stands on one of the most substantial actor paydays in Hollywood history.”
(Danielle lets out a super dramatic wishful sigh)
[00:15:34] Fernanda: So that was a solid, solid gamble to just fuck around set, dance, and have a guy following your every move, with a little boom box providing the soundtrack of your life. (Danielle and Fernanda laugh)
Good gig. If you can get it. And if you’re a Jack Nicholson, you can get it. And a rather interesting little tidbit I found from that casting was actually that Robin Williams really wanted to play the joker apparently. And this, like, there is, I couldn’t find definitive sources on anything, but it was kind of like a barely, he was offered the role said, yes, But it was all an elaborate ruse because they really want to Jack Nicholson.
And then they were like, Hey bro Robin Williams said, yes. And then Jack Nicholson was like, fine. I’ll do it.
[00:16:27] Danielle: Imagine that shit!
[00:16:28] Fernanda: Robin Williams was like, not only is it like probably there, I sent you guys into the chat, a little YouTube clip of him, like sort of talking about it. And he seemed a little upset about the whole situation as he should be. This is fucked up. I don’t want to be Nicholson bait. Nobody does. But also imagine, oh, you could also have like madeover $90 million. (Danielle laughs)
[00:16:53] Danielle: I also would have, I, I want to say, and I want to open this up as well to the, to the panel. I really like Jack Nicholson’s portrayal here. I think it’s actually really fun and interesting. And one of the best parts of the movie. Imagine how much fucking fun this would have been with Robin Williams?
Like Robin Williams is a absolute, I mean, I think it’s, it’s clear where I stand. I think he’s an incredible, incredible talent, incredibly funny, but he can also play very, very dark as well. And I think he would have done a lot with this role. Absolutely. So it’s kinda like, oh, you know, I’m glad that you got this, this God.
Imagine if he was Batman that movie, this movie would be watchable for me.
[00:17:32] Danielle: If Robin Williams was Batman instead of Michael Keaton and like Jack Nicholson was the joker, but I digress. I want to ask Harper how you feel about Nicholson’s joker here. Because for me that it really is the highlight of the movie. I have a lot of problems with the rest of the movie, but he is chewing the scenery.
It feels like he’s a guy who like, not that he knew at the time, because again, he made this whole deal about like, I’ll take a pay cut in case it’s successful, blah, blah, blah. My dude looks like he knows he’s getting 194 million, like running around in a purple suit. Like that’s what that performance feels like to me.
[00:18:09] Harper: Yeah. It’s- he, he’s got the smile, which is really just The Shining smile, but a little, a little brighter it’s this joker I have, like, I have a plethora of feelings about, because when you when you look at it and compare it to like the way that people do the joker, now, you’re like, oh, this is just a guy.
Like, this is just, this is just a fella, but he’s not,
(Danielle and Fernanda laugh)
[00:18:30] Harper: it’s just by comparison to all the mugging and kind of like the jokers that we get now. Cause he, he plays it up, you know, you know, “Hey, how about a smile?” Like he does all that, but also like he doesn’t, he doesn’t need have. Like scars or whatever. He just, he just needs to be kind of a scary dude, which he does.
But also this is, this is a joker who kind of still does japes he kind of still does. Cause he still is like, oh, we’re going to the museum and he’s not like, oh, we’re going to steal it from the rich. He’s like, I’m gonna put graffiti on the things. Or he’s like, you know, we’re going to do, we’re going to put on a weird parade and drop money.
And you’re like, you’re like, okay. So he’s a little bit, he’s a little bit back and forth. Right? Where there’s, I think Nicholson is pouring a lot into it is taking a relatively seriously. I think Nicholson is probably somebody who takes a lot of things quite seriously.
[00:19:24] Danielle: Yeah. (laughs)
[00:19:26] Harper: But then at the same time, there’s this component to him who he still is like, I’m gonna squirt acid on you?
We’re gonna there’s there’s still a little bit of playfulness, right? It’s not quite, you know, it’s not it’s not Cesar Romero being like, “Ah pa pa pa, Batman!” But there’s still, there’s like still enough back and forth here, which is really cool. And it’s interesting because I think that is kind of characteristic to Tim Burton’s work too.
Right. If you see, you know, another thing that came out around this time, which is a little bit before this, I believe it’s like Beetlejuice use, right. It’s supposed to be, it’s supposed to be. And also like that ties us back to Michael Keaton again, a little bit, right? Yeah. Cause, cause he was the titular Beetlejuice
[00:20:04] Harper: it’s, there’s a certain, there’s a certain unique energy to Tim Burton films, which I think maybe is me overplaying the importance of Burton as a creative voice here, because this is obviously obviously also a film driven by so much by set designers and costume designers and things like that. I think that’s true of every superhero movie, but there’s an energy to Burton films which is both kind of playful.
And, and then there’s that dark side that everyone’s like, oh, he’s so quirky and dark, which I think is true. And Nicholson embodies probably the most out of anyone in the cast because otherwise a lot of people in the cast are just. Like I don’t, I don’t dislike Michael Keaton as, as Batman. I think I’d like him more as Bruce Wayne as than Batman, but he’s not like he’s just a fella.
He’s just a fella. (Danielle and Fernanda laugh) And the joker is the joker, you know, the joker, not a fella. The Joker.
[00:21:02] Danielle: I really liked that as a, as a descriptor. It’s like, yeah, Bruce Wayne is just a guy. And then we’ve got the joker.
[00:21:09] Harper: This is like, in terms of, we don’t need to talk about it too much, but for, for Batman itself, this is the one where like, they’re not like, oh, this is how I became a ninja.
And did all this, like, this is the one that is just really a rich guy with a lot of time, which I think is one way to do it. Right. It’s just like looking at it as like almost a class critique intentionally or not, but, you know, because the joker is a bit more a populist everyday fella, even though he’s The Joker.
[00:21:38] Danielle: That’s true. Not just a fella!
[00:21:42] Fernanda: Actually here’s the thing. Watching it now, right? Like this is me. I don’t have context in 89. I was being born. I had really no previous memories of what Batman was. I hate Michael Keaton as Batman. I hate it. I think it’s so boring. And so flat because to me, like, I’ve seen this like boring Batman over and over again, played by Christian bale, played by Val Kilmer and now played by Robert Pattinson ’cause I got halfway through the new Batman yesterday. It lasts like six hours. Like please let me live.
[00:22:17] Fernanda: I was enjoying it, but it’s a three hour movie. And we’re talking about this before the show. I’m an old lady. I get sleepy by 10. So I had to cut it short, but yeah, so like this to me was just like, there was nothing.
The it told me nothing about Bruce Wayne. It told me nothing about Batman. It told me like- this character to me would just, it’s a, I know it’s Batman because it’s a Batman movie, but like I have no interest in getting to know this person because the only time I felt any sort of emotion toward Bruce Wayne or Batman was when he pushed Vicki Vale and told her to shut up.
And those are not good emotions. So it’s kind of like, so I think that really this movie was more of a vehicle for the joker. Like Jack Nicholson had the much meatier role. He had the best, the dialogue through all the movies, kind of whatever. But the joker lines are actually really good. So like he had all the stuff to work with, but also what I like about this joker and how Nicholson portrayed it, it’s kind of like, and this is a trend in it’s culture.
Like right now it’s so. nuanced right? Like the portrayals of villains. And especially in the movie Joker with Juaquin Phoenix like we have all this motivation. We have all these like. You know, psychological and sociological aspects and all of that playing into the complexity of this villain, who isn’t a pure villain, because nobody is a pure villain. (Danielle chuckles very Joker-like)
Are they there’s always like somebody and this Joker no, it just fucking sucks. Like he fell into a VAT of acid and that didn’t help, but he was already an asshole. He had already killed Bruce’s parents and I find it refreshing.
This is straight up just a shitty guy who does shitty things.
[00:24:08] Danielle: Shitty fella! (laughs)
[00:24:08] Fernanda: And it just so happened that he has his wild makeup and you know, this new layer to his psycho, like he gets to be more theatrical about it, but he just straight up sucks. And I don’t have to waste too much time trying to sympathize with this joker. I can just hate him and there’s a time and place for everything, but I can appreciate this sort of just straight up honest approach to just like black and white.
There’s no nuance here. This is a good guy. This is the bad guy. I can’t get into it though. They do give like Batman, of course, a little more nuance . He isn’t just a straight up hero. He’s supposed to be an embattled hero. But yeah, like when it comes to the joker, I really liked this sort of caricature and bring it back to Nicholson and I feel like he delivered it in a really cool way because kind of like Harper said, and this, again, it’s a very Tim Burton thing, but I think it’s also a very Batman thing. Every, the whole universe is very somber and this movie has a lot of somber things like it’s very dark in many ways.
Like the deaths are very, very ugly. Like it’s just very, there’s a lot of like gratuitous killing and some like really disturbing scenes. And you have this very campy joker. And I feel like the contrast and the way these two things mix is really where like, sort of the richness of the movie is. And you need to have like a very competent actor, like Jack Nicholson to tie it all together in a way that isn’t too cartoonish.
[00:25:40] Danielle: Yeah. For me, like one of the best parts I think of the performance is the like deranged artist thing that he’s going for. It’s very Bioshock. And in that, like, there’s a, there’s a part where he talks about, and this is like, again, this is really creepy and fucked up, but it it’s really weird where he’s like using his girlfriend or former girlfriend as like a canvas.
It’s very, very, very. Dr. Steinman in Bioshock, sorry for the nerd reference there.
[00:26:08] Harper: It’s a little bit Sander Cohen as well.
[00:26:10] Danielle: Yes! Very, very, very Sandra Cohen with the masks and oh, we’re doing, I’m doing my best work with murder and all this kind of stuff. And it’s like, yes, this is corny. And now it’s fairly overplayed. But at the time, I don’t think it was nearly as overplayed to do the like deranged psychois an artist and take such joy in his work, killing people and maiming people and poisoning cosmetics. I will say this as well. So I, I, you know, I really did not like this movie and I’m sorry to those who have very fond memories of it, but I just don’t think it holds up. However, I cackled at the, at one particular gag that has to do with the joker and poisoning the makeup.
(Fernanda and Danielle laugh)
[00:26:50] Danielle: And it’s like the newscasters who are reporting on the poison, makeup work, disgusting and harried, and the way they’re sort of giving their. “Lipstick and underarm deodorant!” Clearly they stink so bad and like their hair is all fucked up. That actually really made me laugh. That was like a really good and funny gag that’s it felt like commenting on something.
That’s actually pretty funny instead of like super duper punching down, which I think a lot of the humor of this movie, not the joker humor, because that’s its own thing, but a lot of the general humor of this movie and the general sort of heroic to this movie feels so mean-spirited like the whole introduction is Batman.
Okay. It’s a family of like- it just reads as like white people, propaganda about New York city in the eighties, like it’s this white family who were dressed like they’re from 1951 who are idiots and they’re lost and they get lost in an alley. And then two people who like, I guess content warning, just in case here, content warning, but like two people who just look like they are people who struggle with addiction kind of, you know, rob them and then Batman fucking destroys their asses. And it’s like, are we supposed to root for this guy? This guy is like beating up drug addicts. Like, I don’t care about this shitty family. And I don’t care about the tone of like, oh, Gotham city is so dangerous.
Look at all this crime. It just feels like when you’re just trying to like make fun of New York dude, this is like, what, what like white people and, you know, thought about Brooklyn in the eighties or something. It just feels like so gross. And maybe this is just me reading into this and maybe this is me, like having feelings about how awesome Brooklyn is.
I don’t know, but it really has very like, oh God, that’s the worldview of this movie. Like we’re supposed to think Batman’s his great hero. And it’s like, actually this is a rich guy who dresses up and beats on houseless people. And that feelscrappy!
[00:28:49] Harper: When you put it like that. That’s I mean, the New York image I go to is like Giuliani back when he was just, just the mayor of New York.
[00:28:58] Danielle: Oh god, yes! (Fernanda laughs)
[00:29:00] Harper: And not as much of a weirdo, even though he’s probably a weirdo back then, but that notion of Giuliani cleaning up the streets and like cleaning up times square. And even now when you go to New York, you have people be like, oh, it was different before Giuliani beat the crap out of everyone. And you’re like, it’s a little weird that he did that.
You know, like Batman is, I think Batman is to some extent, right. I mean, or you can paint it this way. Right? There’s a, this a degree that any sort of vigilantism that’s in superheroes is kind of this right-wing fantasy of, of going out and beating up people. And it’s also expressed to you in a lot of – because he’s a millionaire, billionaire, rich billionaire Playboy. There’s a lot of Ways. I mean, it was probably more innocuous back when he, you know, was created.
[00:29:42] Danielle: Sure. Like in the 30s. Like we’re not talking about like eons ago in terms of human culture.
[00:29:48] Harper: Yeah. Where, where wealth is this thing almost that’s associated with recovery after like a lot of shitty times, you know, depression kicked in.
And so what are the heroes that you think of you think of people who are well off, you think of people who then use what they have as a way to serve society. But as that goes on, right, this is the same reason why so many people adopt the Punisher skull as like an icon, right. They never have appropriated the bat symbol. Right? Cause that’s, that’s a little harder to do.
(Fernanda and Danielle laugh)
[00:30:19] Harper: There’s a degree to which, if you look at. Batman there’s there is that vigilantism very right wing fantasy. There’s also, he’s like, he’s like a neo lib guy because he’s because he’s rich and liberals love that shit. Pardon my language.
[00:30:36] Harper: Can we swear?
[00:30:38] Danielle: Oh yeah.
[00:30:40] Harper: Oh, I haven’t even noticed. Yeah. Okay. (Danielle and Fernanda laugh) I was like, oh, no.
[00:30:46] Fernanda: Yeah, I think I’ve already ruined the show, you, you go ahead.
[00:30:51] Harper: When I think of Gotham and how it’s portrayed here, first off, this is the, this is the image of Gotham that then gets transported to like Batman, the animated series to a certain extent. And I think that series maybe even does it better, but this is also kind of like you’re saying Danielle rooted in a lot of images that people had even in the early nineties of like what an inner inter, you know, I can’t even say the word inner city was, and even just what New York was or the way that people even talk about Chicago today, or like, you know, like that sort of stuff. Right?
[00:31:24] Danielle: Yeah. It just feels, it feels real shitty. And it’s, it’s something I wouldn’t have noticed when I was a, you know, dumb college kid, like a 19 year old, which was probably the last time I saw the movie again or 18, maybe we’ll see.
[00:31:36] Fernanda: But the, cultural messaging also changed. Right? Like, that’s the thing back then, this, I feel like our ideas of guys, like Batman were less problematic. Like. And Portuguese would have the word, I don’t know, problem-a-tecize problems.
We didn’t see certain things, of course, as that problematic then like for now, you know, we have really over the past few years, and we’ve talked about this over on the show before I sort of like reassess our ideas on rich people and on millionaires as a general thing. Right? Like it’s less aspirational and more like, oh, they’re hoarding wealth and building things on top of other people’s labor.
So like a guy like. Elon Musk. We saw him very differently 10 years ago, right? Like then we do now. And I think that has, and to me, that’s, what’s interesting. That’s the interesting part of a character like Batman and watching sort of him and the joker being portrayed in so many different ways over the years is exactly that like a movie, like the joker movie couldn’t have existed.
With all the problems around the character in the movie and the way that it was appropriated, of course, but like that couldn’t have existed in the cultural context of 32 years ago. I think while that the idea that this billionaire guy who decides to spend his money to take matters into his own hands and fight crime was probably more heroic than it seems to our 2022 ears, when we think of all the other ways in which those billions can be spent. And I’m actually interested in finishing the current Batman because of. The beginning of it, there is a storyline about him, like possibly losing his fortune. And I want to see like, or him like not caring enough to like nourish or nurture his fortunate, like money.
The money is less seems like less of a given or less of just a thing that happens. And in another movie. So I want to finish that, but yeah, I do feel like this kind of speaks to different types, which is hard for me to like judge based on 1989, like my 2022 eyes are definitely different than the eyes of a person, my age who saw this movie in 1989.
It’s kind of what I mean. So it’s kind of like, to me, that’s just an interesting thing to think about and how like our relationship with these characters and these heroes and our very like idea of what constitutes a hero changes.
[00:34:21] Harper: May I ask a quick question actually? So we’re talking about joker and, and the Batman and Michael Keaton.
And we’re talking about people in back alleys and such. How do both of you feel about the fact that they tie the joker and who he was before? Very explicitly into the origin story of Bruce Wayne and Batman, which is to say, how do you feel about the reveal that he’s also like the back alley dude who ends up killing Bruce’s parents?
[00:34:52] Danielle: Yeah, I think it’s corny.
(They all laugh and agree.)
[00:34:57] Danielle: I think it’s corny, but I have, I have a lot of problems with the writing and overall structure of this movie. So it’s still like have a piece for me with a lot of other stuff. Go ahead, Fernanda. It sounded like you have no,
[00:35:07] Fernanda: no, it’s I, I, I agree that it’s corny, but again, I feel like it’s corny now. I don’t know at the time, like this was an interesting twist. (Danielle laughs)
I do often talk about 32 years ago. Like it’s 80 years ago. I know it’s but it does. I don’t, I don’t know if that was a more interesting twists, but watching it now, I actually asked my husband, ’cause he was watching with me and he’s more like aware of the Canon of like Batman. And I was like, “is this a thing?”
Like, is this, has this always been the thing that the joker killed Batman’s parents?. Like, I didn’t know this was part of the narrative because that would give Batman a pretty good fucking reason to hate the joker this month. Like the daughters I’ve seen are a little more nuanced than this and it was like, no, it was a thing that they did for the movie and that it was met with some, some mixed opinions.
So I don’t, yeah, I think it’s looking at it now. It’s super corny and unnecessary. And just like, why add this twist just to like, make it neater, I guess. I don’t know. It’s weird.
[00:36:13] Harper: We’re all on the same page. It sounds in terms of this twist at the very least.
[00:36:18] Danielle: Yeah, I think so. And I also like. All right. I guess I’ll, I’ll, I’ll just dive in a little bit with some of my other kind of issues with the movie, other than the fact that, you know, I think we have a really engaging villain and we have really great production design, which I’ve mentioned a couple of times, but I do want to just sort of shout out the matte paintings and the way Gotham city looks like it looks really cool.
My favorite parts of the movie are either the joker doing something actually pretty funny, which he does every, every now and then there’s something pretty funny that he’s doing and the shots that are just like weird little stop motion animation with miniatures. Like those look cool as hell. However, for like 82% of this movie, I just, I had a real problem with the fact that your hero that you have at the center here is boring as hell and a misogynist. Again, like, I’m sorry, you sleep with a hot lady, you don’t call her back. She’s understandably fucking upset with you. And she’s telling you that she’s upset with you and you push her down and scream at her and say, “you’re a nice lady, but shut up!” It’s like, honestly, Batman could have taken a nice little dive into the chemicals at that point for me.
And I would have been more than fine with that. It’s like, this is how I hero acts, friends? Also that then the fact that most of the characters here are insufferable the reporter guy, Knox, he’s supposed to be delightful, comic relief, a delightful shleppy guy who, you know, he’s. So he believes in the Batman story, I also wanted him to take a short, you know, a short walk off you know, a plank into some chemicals.
Like all these people are so fucking annoying and they suck and they’re just awful and that’s not fun. So all of this kind of contributes that and the sort of mean sense of humor. And that sort of mean sense that I talked about in the intro. My problem with this movie. Overall, all of these things contribute for me to a sense that this is a movie made by mean nerds.
This is a mean nerd movie. I don’t like mean nerds. I don’t like mean nerd movies. It just feels angry at the world and not in any kind of good or useful way. It’s more like, do you know what sucks? Cities and people! That’s what sucks. Ha I’m a bat. Like that’s, that’s how this movie feels to me. And I know that sounds really simplistic and maybe a little adolescent as well, but that’s like all it felt like for me and I was in a good mood when I put this on, I want to be on the record here.
I did not put this movie on when I was in a shitty mood or like something had, had happened bad. I was like really excited to watch this again. So, yeah, that’s my piece. That’s how I feel structurally that the movie doesn’t work for me,
[00:39:03] Harper: Batman basically just kills the Joker like kind of right like, like I’m gonna put you on this statue and it’s very clear, like Hmm. That statue’s not gonna not going to do much. And he’s, he’s just like, Hmm. All right. And then, and then the Joker straight up dies and presumably has big old gargoyle fall on him or something. Right. It’s pretty rough!
(Danielle agrees and Fernanda laughs)
[00:39:28] Fernanda: I mean, he did kill a lot of people. That’s true too. (laughs)
[00:39:32] Harper: But I mean, the thing that Batman folks get really up in arms about and I think they certainly did with the Ben Affleck’s Batman is they’re like, oh, that Batman doesn’t kill.
I’m like, I think that’s sort of happens here. I mean, to an extent, and then also like for Affleck, is like back to just like throwing grenades at people. (Danielle laughs) So we definitely, it’s not as bad as it. But it is like, you know, I think for a lot of our villains in at least, especially the nineties movies, we see at least a couple like the joker or excuse me, the Riddler, you know, ends up in Arkham and you know, Mr. Freeze ends up, he gets grabbed too. And we, we can talk all we want about what it means to talk toss someone in good old Arkham asylum, but they don’t. This is a movie where the bad guy, very explicitly just dies. He just dies!
[00:40:28] Fernanda: The end of the movie, fucking sucks like that to me is the worst.
That’s me totally agree with you, Harper. The end of the movie to me, I don’t hate the movie, obviously as much as Danielle did very few people do probably totally. We, we love it when you hate things. It’s rare and we appreciate and cherish it.
[00:40:53] Danielle: It really is rare. Harper just has a record. It’s really rare when it-
[00:40:57] Harper: I mean, I know you as, as an individual, you seem to be somebody who has a lot of joie de vivre and it’s totally fine to be like: “Hmm. This Batman makes me a little. A little not so not so happy because, you know, (Danielle laughs) I was going to say just, I’m pretty ambivalent about this movie. Like I think it’s, I think it’s fine. I think it’s fine. Like, it’s not as interesting as Batman returns because Batman returns finally just kind of goes off the wall.
And also that movie has Michelle Pfeiffer and she’s great. Whereas here we just have Vicky Vale who gets kind of pushed around a lot. Unfortunately or like, taken. She gets kidnapped a lot and not that sort of thing. Yeah. So I think it’s fine to look at this movie and go, Hmm, definitely not for me.
Cause I think when you look at it in retrospect, right? If it does feel very of a time in a way that maybe even other movies don’t.
[00:41:50] Fernanda: Yeah, that’s absolutely correct. And I think when I talk about like me disliking sort of the Nolan movies, which granted I have to rewatch, but like it’s for different reasons, this, I agree.
Like it’s, to me, it just reads like a fine movie. I don’t hate it. I don’t love it. But I do think that it has no- usually when we do these episodes, we’re always digging for a certain like deeper things or reading like some deeper meanings into characters or seeing things that, you know, even if they might be a bit of a stretch, like we can sort of dive into like, sort of under layers.
And this one doesn’t really feel like there’s an under layer like, it just really feels like maybe it was a little bit different at the time because. From my understanding, it gave a different vision from what I was reading. It gave a different sort of vision of what Batman could be. But when you think about it, the substance, I don’t really see it, which I can appreciate to a level, like I said, it’s, to me sometimes it’s interesting to just watch like somebody straight up, so can somebody be straight up cool.
And that’s why I love Van Damme movies, but on another level, like you can feel very, like you’re not being nurtured in any way and it can get boring. I was, I actually enjoyed like half of the movie, the ending I really hated. But by the end I was kinda like. This was like an appetizer. Wasn’t like a full course meal.
Like there wasn’t really anything more. And I agree like Vicky Vale is just not a fully accomplished character. She’s absolutely gorgeous. Like Kim Basinger is just like the, one of the prettiest people who have ever lived, but there’s really nothing there. All the characters seem to be, they’re kind of just to support the joker show so I can absolutely understand also.
Not loving the movie and I don’t love the movie. I just like, don’t actively hate it as much, but I do think the visuals are amazing. I love the little choices. Like I like the joker smile. I think it’s like creepy and whimsical in a very like specific way. Jack Nicholson talked about wanting to play the villain in a very scary way.
Like he was talking about like, what I learned is that being in a room with kids, the more you scare them, the more they like it. So I want to scare them. And I feel like that was a really good choice and effective. It is a creepy ass movie. Like the mimes are very creepy choice. The way the anchor lady dies on screen is a creepy-ass moment. Like there’s just a lot of little touches that I really enjoy even the campier shit like the guy with the boom box, which by the way, aspirational, I never wanted to be rich, but like, I just want it to be rich enough to have somebody to follow me along, giving me a soundtrack to my life.
You know, the, the, the balloon, the way that the use it to spread the gas, like even the prince soundtrack, which is very weird and sort of, I feel like it doesn’t match the movie, but it also adds to the kind of like offputting-ness of the entire situation. Like I like a lot of little choices and little aspects and, and, you know, just to use a term you like, Danielle,, you know, like the texture of this.
[00:45:20] Fernanda: But I do feel like story-wise dialogue wise. It’s very, very lacking.
[00:45:28] Danielle: Yeah. And again, for me, some of that texture really does work. I definitely agree with that. Those miniatures, I can imagine they had a lot of fun with concept art. I found a little passage about, you know, sort of you know, making Gotham city so ugly and bleak and all this kind of stuff.
You know, this riot of architectural styles, there’s, there’s just a bunch of notes. You can always kind of find about the production design here. It was really fun for me. I love that textural element. Although I suppose for me, if this movie existed in a world where we didn’t have Batman Forever and Batman and Robin, which y’all said, and I agree with you are way better and way more fun.
Like, I love the chaotic energy of those movies. They are all the way camp. They’re like basically homoerotic they’re made by Joel Schumacher, the man who infamously slept with a thousand men or whatever, like the nipples on the suits, like. Honestly, this is campy. Like this shit is campy and it should be campy IMO.
Like this should be colorful and weird. And we do have some of that here. We really do. And a lot of the Nicholson performance and a lot of the costume design in a lot of that sort of background design and sort of architectural design set design. We really do have a lot of that, I guess. The the hero and, you know, the, the lady who was window dressing, we’re also kind of in on the joke because it feels like they were from a different movie and Jack Nicholson and the production design were from a way more fun dimension.
[00:46:52] Fernanda: I’ll ask you both this, that Vicki and Bruce, I’m sorry to, did you feel like Vicki and Bruce had any chemistry at
[00:46:59] Danielle: They could have been brushing their teeth for the chemistry that they had together. None, none whatsoever. And she gets these awful lines, poor Kim Basinger.
[00:47:08] Danielle: Like she does awful lines like: “I have loved you ever since I saw you.” Like, what the fuck? You fuck this guy once. And it’s been about 10 minutes with him after that, like really. Like, you’re this brilliant photographer, this brilliant photo journalist who has all this cool shit going on. And it’s fine that you like Batman. This is not, I’m not trying to do my homosexual agenda here.
It’s totally okay. That she likes dick and that she likes Batman. That’s totally cool. I’m good with it. I’m all right with it. It’s just this guy? Really? Like any other person is more interesting than, than this dude in this movie. Like he just has no personality at all. He has an 80s haircut and I, this hurts me to say, because I love Beetlejuice so much.
Michael Keaton can be chaotic and full of energy and funny and full of life. And like, I just, I’m not seeing it. I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Kim. I feel bad for you.
[00:48:03] Harper: This is the one where they sit at the table and it’s, it’s very big, right? Or is that the next, I like that stuff. I think a lot of the stuff that orbits Batman and Bruce Wayne is kind of funny, like when you get into that space, like, I think that’s an interesting scene in terms of like, it’s very easy visual metaphor of just this dude who does not understand people. I like his weird bat suit. I like this weird bat suit. It’s got, it’s got that.
It’s got the big yellow bat symbol on it. I love that. It’s, it’s ridiculous. I love that so much. And he very famously can’t turn his neck quite well.
(Fernanda and Danielle laugh)
[00:48:41] Harper: So you get the big sweepy like movements when he’s trying to look at something. But I think that adds a certain interesting feel around it. So I think a lot of the stuff that that’s around Bruce Wayne and Batman is interesting, but maybe, maybe he himself is unfortunately not as interesting.
[00:48:59] Danielle: Yeah.
[00:49:01] Fernanda: Do you have a favorite Batman?
[00:49:02] Harper: My favorite Batman? That’s tricky. I don’t, I don’t know. My favorite, Bruce Wayne is probably I’m biased is probably Val Kilmer. He has enough, like there’s like sometimes he puts on the glasses in Batman forever and he’s very nerdy. And then other times you’re like, oh, this is Val Kilmer.
(Fernanda and Danielle laugh)
[00:49:18] Harper: I wouldn’t want to be on, I wouldn’t want to be on set, working with Val Kilmer at those times.. He was very notoriously hard to work with. I would probably rather be on set with Michael Keaton. So he’s definitely my favorite, Bruce Wayne, but I also think controversially, I think George Clooney looks really good in a bat suit.
You see that jawline and you’re like, oh, dang. That’s Batman. So
[00:49:38] Danielle: He’s got those daddy jowls right there.
[00:49:43] Harper: Yeah, he’s great.
[00:49:44] Fernanda: He’s got a chin I can respect.
[00:49:48] Danielle: Yeah for real! (laughs)
[00:49:49] Fernanda: Do you have one , Danielle?
[00:49:50] Danielle: I was going to say, I was probably gonna say Val as well in terms of just like getting it, but like, I also totally appreciate George Clooney.
It’s also that I just liked those movies so much more. Like, I, I’m not, I’m also not a huge fan of the Nolan Batman’s- you know whatever the middle one with Heath, like that’s a great performance. Like I, you know, I can absolutely respect that. That is like actually a really good performance of a villain in a superhero movie, regardless of how I feel about the movies themselves.
So I’ll just throw that out there, but yeah, I really, I really like the goofy gay Batman’s they’re not gay, but there can’t be. And they’re like, you know, they’re directed by a very wonderfully notorious gay dude. So like I very much enjoy both of those portrayals .
[00:50:36] Harper: Christian Bale is okay. And then as that trilogy goes along and he gets more and more stuff to be kind of sad about like, like his version of Bruce Wayne is very much like, “Hey, how’s it going?”
But that’s fine. That’s a good, that’s a good cover identity. He’s like, “oh, where do I live?” You know, Harvey Dent’s like “oh, do you even live in the city?” He’s like “in the palisades!” And you’re like, yeah, dude, that’s great. I like that. (Fernanda laughs) This movie has Harvey dent in it too. And we never get to see, we never get to see the two face.
That would have been a Billy Dee Williams. But I bet you, that would have been quite good.
[00:51:10] Danielle: Honestly, Yeah. Billy D so, so underused in this movie. What again, what a fun performer. Who’s just like, all he is is just a boring cop. Who’s on the phone all the time. That’s all he gets to do in this movie. He’s underrated.
[00:51:23] Fernanda: Right. If you don’t know who HarveyDent is then like, he doesn’t really seem like a relevant character at any point of the movie.
[00:51:28] Danielle: Yeah. He’s just a cop on the phone. That’s all he is ever in this whole thing.
[00:51:33] Fernanda: I will give a shout out to Bob, the henchman Bob. (laughs)
[00:51:37] Danielle: Oh yeah. Henchman Bob! (laughs)
[00:51:40] Fernanda: He shines. I love the little joker jackets, like the purple bomber jackets with the little joker logos.
[00:51:50] Danielle: Shout out to Bob. (laughs)
[00:51:52] Fernanda: Bob, Bob died very unceremoniously, justice for Bob. Like the Degas, the Degas that they completely destroyed in the museum and, and Bob, like, they met the saddest endings in the entire movie, I feel like they deserved better when they started like painting all over the Degas in the museum.
I was literally yelling. I was like “not the Degas!”
[00:52:20] Danielle: “Not the Degas!” (laughs)
[00:52:21] Fernanda: “I’m sure the people have done something to deserve this!” Okay. I’m kidding.
[00:52:24] Danielle: Not that beautiful painting, I know.
[00:52:28] Fernanda: (laughs) I’m kidding. I do not condone murder. Okay. Listeners, please.
[00:52:33] Danielle: We have to say these things.
[00:52:35] Fernanda: It’s nice to clarify that in general, I do not condone murder outside of the fictional realm of movies. I don’t know. To me, it’s just so flat and I, I don’t see Michael Keaton as a hunk in any way.
I actually had this conversation with my husband, ’cause the other Batman’s are hot people. Christian Bale. He has- if you like that kind of thing. He has like a certain charm, not Michael Keaton. And then Rodrigo (Fernanda’s husband) was like, no, he was a hunk then. And I’m like, was he? Was Michael Keaton ever a hunk? I don’t know.
[00:53:13] Danielle: Yeah. I think he, Hmm, it’s really hard. I think he was supposed to be, and just men had haircuts back then. That just will never look good. (Harper agrees! Fernanda laughs.) That’s really a huge part of the problem for me. Like men just really had atrocious, fucking haircuts in the eighties. And especially the late eighties, early eighties stuff, you get, you have that little Flopsy thing, like late seventies, early eighties, that that can look kind of cute.
And you could kind of pull up hockey hair, maybe if you had the right, you know, kind of face for it. But like the shitty little perm, that’s like not doing anything for anybody like that. Just, it just doesn’t help anything!
[00:53:52] Fernanda: (laughs) My counterpoint for late eighties, male hair is Patrick Swayze.
[00:53:56] Danielle: I mean, absolutely. Yes.
[00:53:59] Fernanda: That’d be, that would be my counterargument to that just because-
[00:54:02] Danielle: Yeah, but he didn’t have the shitty eighties hair. I feel like he had like more flowy locks that like work, you know? And that just could kind of work with any like flowy, flowy locks, character, you know? I mean, I don’t know. He also was so hot that he could pull off basically anything.
[00:54:18] Harper: Yeah. Yeah. He did a bunch of different stuff. Right. He’s doing Roadhouse, but he’s also doing dirty dancing and all that.
Like he is both a guy who will throw ya into a table, but also a guy who were like, make your town learn to love, learn to love dance dancin’.
(Fernanda and Danielle erupt into laughter)
[00:54:40] Fernanda: Yeah. The range! (laughs) Shout out to our a Roadhouse episode, by the way, which just this week on our discord, somebody said it had a lot of chaotic energy and we took that as a compliment.
[00:54:50] Harper: That must’ve been one heck of a heck of a podcast!
[00:54:55] Fernanda: We did a Swayze month, a full Swayze month back when we were in our old panel format. And I think Roadhouse Swayze was the universally lusted after.
[00:55:05] Harper: Yeah. I can see that. Sure.
[00:55:07] Fernanda: He can kill a man by chopping in his Adam’s apple. So that’s hot. Like that’s objectively a hot skill to have, (Danielle: “honestly, yeah…”) Michael Keaton, I just don’t see it. And he had some really hard fictional wives. He was married to Nicole Kidman in a movie.
He was married to Andie Macdowell in a movie. He gets with Kim Basinger in this movie. Like- and still, I just don’t see Michael Keaton to me, he is like more a Beetlejuice energy or the guy who gets it was just a regular husband who gets cloned several times. Like that’s to me is- (laughs)
[00:55:40] Harper: Wow! You made a multiplicity reference!
[00:55:43] Danielle: So happy that you did. That’s really good. (laughs)
[00:55:46] Fernanda: I had to. And he’s amazing. And the sad thing that was just saw the movie about the drugs and the series about the drugs and the Sackler family.
[00:55:56] Danielle: Oh my God. That’s right!
[00:55:58] Fernanda: Dope sick. So yeah, no Michael Keaton hate or venom here. I just don’t really, I don’t don’t support Michael Keaton’s Batman, which is fine.
Not everything has to be a win. We forgive you Michael, for this misstep. I did read some reviews that actually liked him as Batman, like older reviews.
[00:56:21] Danielle: I think some people do, like I remember this is a very, very video game journalism specific reference, but there was definitely, I believe it was Crispin Boyer back from EGM, like old, electronic gaming, monthly days who talked about like, he worked in like a game store and some man came in specifically looking for a game starring Michael Keaton, Batman.
And he would not take any other Batman. (Fernanda erupts into laughter) And I will never forget this like wild story that’s some dude went to a video game store and was like, Michael Keaton, Batman, no other Batman, but Michael Keaton, Batman. That’s very charming.
[00:57:01] Harper: I think a lot of that has to do with, we don’t, we don’t see it now because we’ve had so many Batman’s since then, but you know, for a while, the cultural cache of Batman really revolves like very heavily around Adam West, right? And that sort of Batman. So I think people. We’re seeing something that they perhaps didn’t have a lot of experience with before as compared to you know, just a Batman who had a little bit more weight on his shoulder and not a dude who was like: “hand me the shark repellent back to spray!”
(Fernanda and Danielle laugh)
[00:57:37] Harper: Like it’s very, it’s different at least by comparison.
[00:57:41] Fernanda: It is. Absolutely. And I have no, like I said, I have no experience with that other Batman. So in my vision, my experience, like my, it started with this one, but I absolutely understand what you’re saying. So I feel like at the time it made more of an impact than now.
And how do we feel about Alfred? We haven’t discussed Alfred. That’s the same.
[00:58:00] Harper: He’s like the same dude for like the next three movies or two movies, at least that’s Michael Gough. I forget how to pronounce his actual last name, but he’s, he’s just, he’s just Alfred for quite a long time, even though. Bruce Wayne changes and he’s always like: (Brit accent) “hello, sir!” And that’s fine.
[00:58:18] Harper: That’s a good old, that’s a good old Butler. I like it.
[00:58:23] Fernanda: (laughs) I feel like his face. And I didn’t know it was him, but that makes sense because like, when I think Alfred, that’s the name, the face that appears in my head. And I think that’s because that’s why, because he was in the following movies, I think is a very regal Alfred. He doesn’t appear a lot. And I think he just there’s enough gravitas to the role of Alfred but it’s not a shining character, like ends up becoming in the future movies.
[00:58:54] Danielle: Yeah. He seems fine. I didn’t really, that’s the thing it’s like, it’s like, he’s totally fine. He is a Regal Butler. He is the father figure.
He does have that one really shining moment where he tells the story. About, you know, the riding incident and how he never took young Bruce writing again. However, my dude like got a sprained ankle. I just think that like the real psychopath in this movie is Bruce Wayne. And like, he caused a real injury in this other man and like, everybody’s just laughing about it.
And it’s like, I had a sprained neck go and I was all muddy. And it’s like, you caused an injury. You’re probably a psychopathic four year old who like broke his ankle. I don’t know. It’s just, it’s problematic. Oh, I’ve never seen Birdman by the way, which I feel is a response to this movie.
[00:59:36] Harper: Oh! It’s quite good. Quite good film! That- my language escaped me. “Quite good film!”
(Fernanda and Danielle laugh)
[00:59:42] Harper: Very, very nice, good film. Yeah, it’s great!
[00:59:49] Fernanda: I feel, I feel more included in this conversation.
[00:59:51] Harper: Yeah, older Michael Keaton is like super cool.
[00:59:54] Danielle: He’s rad. I super believe it. I would like to watch it. It came up on a frame dot WTF the other day, and I didn’t know the movie and you know, I eventually got there, but it took a while. Yeah, he’s our incredible producer, Paul, of course, Paul Tamayo says “he’s great.And Spider-Man!” Which is cool. He is the vulture. I do think I’ve seen one of those where he is the, the, yeah.
[01:00:16] Harper: Yeah, he vulches. That’s his job.
[01:00:18] Danielle: He’s vulchin’ it right up. I’ve been saying jokering it right up lately, all day. And he he’s right up in, in that movie. All right. Well, dear friends, is there anything else we want to say about this movie until we get to our last segment, which has shelf life, which Harper that’s, where we decide where it belongs in the video store?
It’s a, you know, it’s a staff pick for the highest honor, which by the way, there’s a lot of, like, there are things you might not think are staff picks that are staff picks on our show. So it’s just letting you know if it’s like a middle aisle, which is like that’s for most things. Or if it’s a dumpster pick, is there anything else you’d like to discuss before we make our judgments.
[01:00:58] Fernanda: I will say, Danielle, before we move on, I was just like taking a gander at the IMDB reviews. And most people really liked the movie. It’s like a lot of nine, 10 out of 10, eight out of 10, but there is one, five out of 10 that I feel like really sums up our discussion. And I’ll just read the title, which is: “hard to assess.”
And I feel like that’s where we are with this- “difficult to assess.” That’s where we are with this beautiful movie.
[01:01:27] Danielle: Difficult to assess. I agree.
[01:01:29] Fernanda: Difficult to assess and it’s a five out of 10. It’s a long-ass review. So I won’t read the whole thing by Harry Hexton from July, 2001, but. I feel like it really, it really speaks to our conundrum right now, but we’ll, we’ll get into it as we move into our final segment.
(Laid back synth music plays)
[01:01:59] Danielle: Right. Well, here we are in shelf life, dear friends, in case you’ve never listened to You Love to See It before. Just like I just said to Harper, we’ve got three places in the video store where a movie can end up staff picks, which is for our favorites, the middle aisle, which is totally respectable.
Very good movies, movies that we think are excellent films often end up in the middle out just cause it’s not like a personal favorite. That’s okay though. Lots of good stuff in there. And then the dumpster, which only really has one movie in it right now, which is Wild Wild West. I’m pretty sure for Fernanda and I would’ve individually picked a few other things for the dumpster as well.
But like one or the other of us like saved something from the dumpster a couple of times. So I will refrain because I think everybody knows where my heart is with Batman, but I’m going to let Harper as our guest of honor would you like to take a gander at where this feels, and you can just say where it feels for you.
This is a subjective thing.
[01:02:54] Harper: I think it’s a middle shelf, but I will not protest if you, if you hurl it in that there dumpster, like this is, this is a movie I have no strong, like particular personal affectation or affection for, I should say. Sure. So I, I’m kind of ambivalent about where, where it ends up which I guess is an answer in and of itself, right?
[01:03:18] Danielle: Sure, sure. Absolutely. Fernanda, what are you thinkin’? It’s okay. Whatever feelings you have are valid. I want to make sure everybody knows that your feelings are valid.
[01:03:30] Fernanda: So this is why I love doing the show. I always leave feeling validated and seen as a full complex human. (Danielle laughs) I will quote another one of my dear. IMDB reviewers:
“it’s not a bad movie, just an uneven and unsatisfying one.”
Okay. I am also a with Harper. I’m a middle. I don’t think it’s a dumpster. Honestly. I feel like it’s got enough. It’s just extremely flat. I think- emotionally, but I feel like there is enough stylistically and in terms of ideas and of course Nicholson’s joker to like, save it from the dumpster.
It’s not something I would like enthusiastically defend. Like if you really want to put it in the dumpster, like, okay, ah, I won’t, I won’t protest it too much, but I do feel like this is a very like, whatever middle aisle, which in some ways it’s worse because it’s doomed to oblivion. It will be forgotten.
We always mentioned Wild Wild West because it has the distinction of being in our dumpster.
(Danielle and Fernanda laugh with zero remorse)
[01:04:42] Fernanda: I feel like it’s an even worse fate as far as our show goes to be in the middle aisle.
[01:04:48] Danielle: (laughs) Yeah. It’s, it’s really true. And we kind of have degrees, you know, there are times where like high, middle aisle, high, middle, like striptease, perfect high middle aisle where it’s like, that’s a totally good. Totally good movie, not one of my all time faves, but it’s a totally good movie, you know?
And there are degrees of things. So I mean for me, this is kind of a dumpster pick, but it’s kind of peeking out of the dumpster because I really, I really laughed very hard with that gag, with the disgusting looking newscasters. That was really funny. Like that was really, really funny. And Jack Nicholson just absolutely acts the pants off- the purple pants off of this role.
And it is really fun to watch him in this movie. And if I can like, again, imagine just like, if I like Photoshop in Robin Williams, as Batman I like, I like what that does to my brain. So like, I will absolutely accept like a low middle aisle. Like it’s looking at that dumpster.
[01:05:51] Fernanda: (laughs) In some ways it’s worse because it has a view of the dumpster.
[01:05:55] Danielle: It has to smell the dumpster, you know,
[01:05:58] Fernanda: (laughs) From your perspective, it’s worse than actually being inside.
[01:06:03] Harper: Yeah. It’s some brave little toaster at the junkyard action knowing something’s wrong.
(Danielle and Fernanda laugh)
[01:06:13] Danielle: Yeah. Yeah. Paul our producer is chiming in here with, if we run out of inventory space it’s out of here. Yeah, exactly. It’s like at any moment we could say, you know what, actually. Actually this got thrown out. So yeah, that, that feels good. So officially a low middle aisle pick, but it ain’t far from the dumpster, at least as far as I’m concerned. I’ll put it that way.
All right. Well, dearest friends, listeners, co-hosts, producer. Thank you all so much for joining me. That’s all we have for you this week. I want to thank you to both my co-hosts for joining me. Thank you at home for listening and thank you of course, to our producer, Paul “sugar bumps” Tamayo- excellent choice, Paul. Fantastic. Paul always picks great nicknames for this. Of course, for his help in making the show, not only not suck, but also kind of rule, I think our video store’s pretty good. So that makes me happy.
We do hope you come back to your friendly neighborhood video store next week, as we continue payday may with Mission Impossible, where Tom Cruise got paid-y paid-a-rooskie for that movie, it was a big, a big one.
(Cash register sound + Fernanda laughs)
[01:07:22] Danielle: I’m just going to keep making up words for Payday May it feels right. You know what I’m saying? Like it just feels right. If you do like the work that we do here, and you want to show some support, you can do so by rating and reviewing the show on Apple Podcasts or rating us on Spotify.
So we can hopefully get on some more listeners radars, because you know what these VHS rewinders break all the time. And unfortunately they’re not cheap. So we need our own payday may. So, you know, if you want to just rate and review us, that helps us so so much, you can check out all of our other podcasts over at fanbyte.com/podcasts.
Follow us on Twitter at @FanbyteMedia Instagram at fabyte tiktok on fan bite. And of course on fabyte.com you can watch our streams on Twitch TV slash fanbyte .
Thank you so so much Fernanda where can we find you online?
[01:08:08] Fernanda: You can find me on Twitter @NandaPrates_ that’s N A N D A P R A T E S _.
And you can also find me on Instagram @NandaPrates minus the underscore. And there are selfies and pictures of my dogs. So if you like my face and dogs. That should be good for you.
[01:08:27] Danielle: (laughs) That sounds excellent. Harper, thank you. So, so, so much for joining us this week, we have had a blast. Where can people find you online? And would you like to plug any of your work?
[01:08:37] Harper: Sort of you can find most of the stuff I’m involved with at doublefine.com or on our social media. @DoubleFine you can also just look up multiple of our games. Brutal Legend that’s on Game Pass Psychonauts 2 we made it last year and people seemed to enjoy it. So that’s good.
[01:08:55] Danielle: My game of the year!
[01:08:56] Harper: Was it? Wow! That’s very flattering. It’s so that’s the stuff I’m involved with. I would give you a Twitter, but oh gosh, Twitter trying to maybe stop that a bit except for work. So yeah, so just look up DoubleFine stuff, play our games. They’re really fun.
Oh, well thank you so much.
Thank you for being here. Our producer, Paul can be found at @polimayo just in case. Yeah. Do you want to do the Twitter thing? I’m @Danielleri yeah. I’m mostly doing it for working at this point myself . So I totally get that everybody. Thank you so much for listening. Please come back next week, please rate and review.
And until next time, You Love to See It.
EXT. FANBYTE CITY NIGHT – YOU LOVE TO SEE IT
The camera glides backwards out of the door while Fernanda and Danielle clean up and shut the lights off. We move back to the extreme wide shot and float above the store.
Fanbyte City sits on the horizon, all lit up. Suddenly, a bat signal appears above it all.
[Fade to black]