In the nineties America was obsessed with dinosaurs. For reasons we could never put our fingers on, Dinosaurs were in just about every facet of pop culture you could imagine. Video games, movies, animated series, they were mascots for snack foods, they were the basis for a family sitcom, and yes, they were fit in to movies amounting to cinematic oddities still making movie buffs scratch their heads. We had a family film about miniature dinosaurs, a buddy cop comedy about a female cop and a dinosaur, and yes, we even had “Tammy and the T-Rex.”
No matter what you feel about “Batman and Robin,” you can’t deny that it almost killed the comic book movie as a sub-genre. It also about killed the careers of Alicia Silverstone, Chris O’Donnell, and Uma Thurman, all of whom took years to recover. Even today with so much nostalgia and looking back on classically bad movies, “Batman and Robin” is still just bad. I understand Warner wanted kid friendly, and Joel Schumacher delivered on kid friendly, but in the process he also delivered a nigh unwatchable sequel that also killed Batman on film for years until Christopher Nolan swooped in to reboot the whole kit and caboodle.
When “The Universal Horror Collection” was originally announced, it was titled the “Boris Karloff/Bela Lugosi Collection” by Shout Factory. One can only assume that they’ve managed to retain the rights to many Universal movies obscure and classic, thus changing their new series to “The Universal Horror Collection.” With that broad a title, the sky is apparently the limit for Shout Factory and what they can do with these volumes. Since this was originally a Karloff/Lugosi four movie set, the whole of the films included star the pair of horror icons. With Volume 1 of “The Universal Horror Collection,” fans will be elated to see that they’re starting us off on the right foot.
It’s more budgetary double feature Blu-Rays for movie collectors that want to own two somewhat—uh—okay comedies, but don’t want to spend money on them. If you’re a fan of either film, they’re basically only available on this double bill Blu-Ray for now, sans the features. So sadly there’s no audio commentary with Jon Lovitz and Tia Carrere going over the finer nuances of “High School High.” In either case, if you’re also a nineties completist, it’s definitely a double bill worth owning.
“To Wong Foo” was an especially curious film for me when I was twelve as I was admittedly not at all aware of what Drag Queens were. All I knew about “To Wong Foo” then is that it starred three of my favorite movie stars dressed as women. While the trailers completely advertised the film as men who dress as women for some kind of action oriented premise, I was surprised that it was a lot better than that. “To Wong Foo” isn’t a masterpiece, but through and through it’s a charming and funny drama comedy about acceptance, and enduring through pain.
I’m frankly surprised that “Batman Forever” doesn’t show up often on lists about homoerotic mainstream films. In the annals of homoerotic cinema, “Batman Forever” is right up there. While Joel Schumacher pretty much does what Warner asked by making Batman less menacing, less violent, and a lot more family friendly, it’s also incredibly homoerotic. That doesn’t hinder the experience, but it’s worth discussing how Batman goes from fighting with a Latex covered sex zombie to building romantic tension with a young man he takes in seemingly out of nowhere.
If “Batman” was the opening act of Tim Burton’s iteration of Batman, “Batman Returns” is a pretty epic second chorus that pretty much completes the picture. Whether or not you believe Burton dropped out, or was ousted by Warner for being too dark or violent, “Batman Returns” is a pretty good closing chapter in Burton’s Batman world, even in spite of its flaws. Hell, it’s a better film than “Batman,” despite the fact it objectively garners the more obvious flaws than the 1989 original.
If you’re looking for a double feature from Mill Creek Entertainment bound to save you some dough and allow for a neat night of blubbering and familial melodrama, you can’t get better than the new double feature from the company. Although both films have been released ad nauseum, Mill Creek Entertainment has the perfect double feature that will likely make a pretty good addition for future Mother’s Days. While bereft of bells and whistles, it’s a good value for folks that enjoy this kind of drama.