Batman (1989)

Written 6/26/09:

The Huffington Post has a great article by Scott Mendelson about Batman and how it changed the summer movie landscape. The thing that hit me most was this:

The year’s highest grossing film was arguably the most important. Not in terms of quality of course; it remains one of my favorite films but I’m not going to pretend that it was robbed at the Oscars. It left an indelible mark on the industry for the next twenty-years, in ways both very good and very bad. In the truest sense, Batman was a game-changer.

I was just telling someone this weekend how much of an impact Batman had on me as a kid, but not necessarily for the reasons Mendelson mentions in the article. I did love the action and Keaton’s anti-hero and Jack, of course. I loved everything about it. But it was the first time I walked out of a movie and wanted to just get right back in line for the next showing. I literally bounced out of that movie. I saw it with my best friend and I remember standing outside the theatre on the sidewalk, waiting to be picked up, talking about my favorite scenes, punctuated with dramatic gestures and flappy hands of joy and I remember the moment I realized that my friend thought it had been “okay”. WHAT. OKAY? I was blown away that the movie didn’t make her feel the way I did. How could she not love it? I could have flown home, I was so excited, but to her it was just a movie. I don’t know if that was the moment that I figured out how much I loved the movies, but it was certainly the first time I realized that I experienced them in a radically different way than most of the people around me.

One of my favorite quotes is from C.S. Lewis:

Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: What! You too? I thought I was the only one.

The summer Batman came out, I was 14 and my brother was just shy of 20. He was home from his first year away at school in Illinois and we used to stay up late watching MTV and eating chips and he’d tell me stories about college. I don’t remember which one of us brought up Batman or in what context or even what exactly we talked about. But I remember the moment itself vividly because he GOT it. He got that feeling of excitement, that sense of giddy joy. Most importantly, he got ME. I wasn’t alone in my geekhood. Even if nobody else understood, he did.

Of course, a couple of years later, I found the internet and all of you and I really truly knew that it wasn’t just me. But that summer, that conversation was when John wasn’t just my big brother anymore, he was one of my best friends.

Talk about your game-changers.

Read the article: