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A-Ron’s Film Rewind Presents: The Legacy & Life Of Joel Schumacher

Sad news flowed through the film industry recently, as we lost filmmaker Joel Schumacher from a year long battle with cancer. Unfairly remembered as the horrible nickname of, Joel “I Ruined Batman” Schumacher, due to the outcome of 1997’s “Batman & Robin”. Many don’t realize or respect, what an influential filmmaker he was. He directed some of the classic films of the 80’s and 90’s, including contributing to the Hollywood movement known as “The Brat Pack”, serving as co-writer and director of “St. Elmo’s Fire”. He went on to direct “The Lost Boys”, “Flatliners”, “Falling Down”, “8mm”, “The Number 23”, “A Time To Kill” and two “Batman” films. Schumacher has been credited with giving a career start to some of Hollywood’s elite: Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, Matthew McConaughey and Colin Farrell. Overcoming heavy drugs and alcohol before making his way through Hollywood starting out as a costume designer to becoming a director who delivered effective studio films of so many genres. He was never a director who set out to win critical esteem. I’m personally thankful and respect Schumacher for the artist he was, in creating and bringing his extensively impressive, filmography into my life….and our lives. This is his story, his films and his legacy. The legacy of Joel Schumacher. 

Part 1: A Sad Day For Hollywood

Director Joel Schumacher got one of the biggest blockbusters of his career with, 1995’s “Batman Forever”, starring Val Kilmer, Jim Carrey, Tommy Lee Jones and Nicole Kidman. The third film in the “Batman” franchise to follow Tim Burton’s sequel “Batman Returns”. For Schumacher, it was a dream come true for him to take the reins from director Tim Burton, to where Schumacher said this in an interview: “I’m very lucky to be here. I have a career beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve wanted to make movies since I was seven. I have my health, I conquered drugs and alcohol.…I’ve survived an awful lot”. 

In a 30+ year career, Joel Schumacher has proven to be a really smart and a visually mind bending director, who made a string of great films, most of them underrated. He was known to deliver effective studio films of so many genres. He had a sharp and shrewd sense of every genre and how to effectively cast A-list actors in his films. He is even credited to giving a career start to Rob Lowe, Demi Moore, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, Matthew McConaughey and Colin Farrell. 

Joel Schumacher was never a director who set out to win critical esteem. He directed everything from movies to TV movies to music videos (including “Devil Inside” by INXS), but Schumacher never got any big glittering prize. Although his brilliant film “Falling Down” with Michael Douglas, was entered into competition at the Cannes Film Festival. He just wanted to do what he loved, making movies. Going back to the quote that opens up this tribute, Schumacher was clearly thankful he beat his demons for a full career. I know I’m personally thankful for him, in what he has created and in bringing his extensively impressive, filmography into my life….our lives. 

On the morning of June 22nd 2020, I woke up to the news of the passing of director Joel Schumacher and it’s one that really hurts. It especially pains me as Joel Schumacher was a director I had a lot of respect for. I appreciated and loved his career so much. His contributions to cinema is essential and his work is truly some of my favorite films. His craftsmanship as a filmmaker was undeniable and unique, he always had an eye for so many genres. As a movie buff and one of the truest fans of his work, career and artistry I’m truly heartbroken by the loss cinema has suffered. He passed at the age of 80, from a year long battle from Cancer. 

Part 2: Growing Up

Joel Schumacher was born on August 29th 1939, in New York and grew up an only child in the working class neighborhood of Long Island City in Queens. In a New York Times article, Schumacher referred to himself as an “American mongrel. My mother was a Jew from Sweden and my father was a Baptist from Knoxville, Tennessee”.

When Schumacher was four, his father had died. To make ends meet, his mother went to work selling dresses. She worked six days a week and also some nights. “She was a wonderful woman, but, in a sense, I lost my mother when I lost my father,” Schumacher told Newsweek. By the time he was eight, he was unsupervised and on the street taking care of and entertaining himself. He found comfort reading “Batman” comics and spent long afternoons in darkened movie theaters watching Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant on the big screen.

“Those were my two biggest obsessions before I discovered alcohol, cigarettes, and sex. Then my obsessions changed a little bit. I started drinking when I was nine. I started having sex when I was eleven. I started drugs in my early teens and I left home the summer I turned 16. I went right into the beautiful people fast lane in New York at the speed of sound. I’ve made every mistake in the book”.

As a child, Schumacher also dabbled in entertainment. He built his own puppet theater and performed at parties. To help his mother make money, he also delivered meat for a local butcher. Walking the streets, Schumacher became interested in window displays and volunteered to dress the store windows in his neighborhood.

Part 3: Early Career

After he left home at 16, where Schumacher lied about his age and landed a job at Macy’s selling gloves in the menswear department. From there, he became a window dresser for Macy’s, as well as for Lord & Taylor and Saks. Later, Schumacher worked as a window dresser at Henri Bendel’s and earned a scholarship to the Parsons School of Design in New York City. He also attended that city’s Fashion Institute of Technology. 

Next, he worked as a fashion designer and helped manage a trendy boutique called Paraphernalia, long associated with Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgwick. In time, Schumacher found work with Revlon, designing their make-up packaging. With a keen eye for style, Schumacher became a big star in the fashion world, but sunk himself lower into drugs. His favored drugs: speed, acid and heroin. 

Schumacher refered to this period of his life in the 60s, as his “vampire” years. He stayed inside his home all day, covering his windows with blankets and only going out at night. One day in 1970, something snapped in him and Schumacher quit the hard core drugs. “I guess it was the survivor in me,” he told the New York Times in a past interview“I just knew I had to stop.” However he wasn’t able to kick his drinking, an addiction that plagued him for two more decades.

Part 4: Headed For Hollywood 

In 1971, before Schumacher relocated to Los Angeles, Schumacher wrote his first screenplay for the musical drama “Sparkle” in 1976. He then landed a trial job as a costume designer for the film “Play It As It Lays”which was released in 1972. From there, he picked up jobs as a costume designer for movies like Woody Allen’s “Sleeper “and “Blume in Love”, both released in 1973. Through these movies, Schumacher made contacts and landed his first directing job for the 1974 NBC–TV drama “The Virginia Hill Story”.

Schumacher also began writing screenplays, including 1976’s “Car Wash” and the 1978 musical, “The Wiz”. Finally, in 1981, he got his first shot at filmmaking for a Hollywood studio, directing Lily Tomlin in “The Incredible Shrinking Woman”. Schumacher’s next film was the 1983 film about a metropolitan cab company run by a group of misfits. Called “D.C. Cab”the film featured Mr. T. 

Part 5: Joel Schumacher Started The Fire

Schumacher’s first big Hollywood hit was his third film, which he also co-wrote that would define a generation and be a part of the Hollywood genre known as “The Brat Pack”. Released only four months after John Hughes “The Breakfast Club”. Schumacher’s St. Elmo’s Fire” (which celebrates it’s 35th anniversary this month), was also dubbed as “The Little Chills”, in reference to the ensemble film “The Big Chill”. 

According to Schumacher, “a lot of people turned down the script…the head of a major studio called its seven-member cast “the most loathsome humans he had ever read on the page”. The producers had interviewed “hundreds of people” for the cast, including Anthony Edwards (from Tv’s “E.R.”) and Lea Thompson (“Back To The Future”). According to producer Lauren Shuler Donner (wife of director Richard Donner), she found Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson and Alley Sheedy through recommendations from director John Hughes, who had cast them in The “Breakfast Club”. Schumacher said he had to “push hard” to get the studio to agree to cast the three. A just starting out Demi Moore was ordered by Schumacher to seek help, since he once went through it, to go to rehab before shooting started.

Judd Nelson who played rebel John Bender in John Hughes “The Breakfast Club” said in an interview: “I think I’m probably going to be criticized a lot. My character is very straight, very conservative, very career-oriented. After Breakfast Club, I think people will say I should have played another street punk. They’ll criticize me for not doing what I’m good at, for trying something new”. While Alley Sheedy who played the recluse Allison, also from the “The Breakfast Club”, said: “It’s refreshing to play someone who isn’t defined by who her boyfriend is or what her body looks like”.

“St. Elmo’s Fire” was unfairly panned by the critics, but was a box office hit grossing $37.8 million on a $10 million budget. Personally for me I favor “St. Elmo’s Fire” over “The Breakfast Club”, which is a complete classic, but I think Schumacher’s film is the superior one. “St. Elmo’s Fire” delivered more impressive results. “The Breakfast Club” may be the more enduring movie, but “St. Elmo’s Fire” branded many of its actors as more bankable stars and pop culture touchstones. Schumacher states in the director’s commentary for “St. Elmo’s Fire” that he resents the “Brat Pack” label, as he feels it misrepresented the group.

Part 6: Sleep All Day, Party All Night

Schumacher continued his success, as his next film was the vampire horror comedy, “The Lost Boys”. Just as he did with “St. Elmo’s Fire”, Schumacher created another pop culture phenomenon with the teenage vampire flick. Also like some of “St.Elmo’s” cast members, Schumacher helped launch the careers of Corey Haim, Corey Feldman and Kiefer Sutherland. “The Lost Boys” was actually originally set to be directed by Richard Donner (who stayed on as Executive Producer when Schumacher directed) and was to be modeled on Donner’s hit “The Goonies”. 

When Donner had committed to other projects, Joel Schumacher was approached to direct. He insisted that the film be sexier and targeted more toward the adult audience, bringing on screenwriter Jeffrey Boam (“Lethal Weapon 2”) to retool the script and raise the ages of the characters.

Schumacher said he had “One of the greatest casts in the world. They are what make the film”. Jason Patric (“Speed 2”, “Narc”) was approached early on by Schumacher to play Michael, but Patric had no interest in doing a vampire film and turned it down “many times”. Eventually he was won over by Schumacher’s vision and his promise to allow the cast a lot of “creative input” in making the film. According to Kiefer Sutherland, Patric “was really instrumental” in adapting the script with Schumacher and shaping the film together. 

Schumacher envisioned the character of Star as being a blonde, similar to Meg Ryan, but he was convinced by Jason Patric to consider Jami Gertz (“Twister”), who had just worked with Patric in “Solarbabies”. Schumacher was impressed, but only at Patric’s insistence did he finally cast Jami Gertz. Schumacher was surprised when his first choice for the role of Jason Patric’s mother Lucy, played by Dianne Wiest, had accepted the role. As she had just recently won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for “Hannah and Her Sisters”.

After seeing Kiefer Sutherland’s portrayal of Tim in “At Close Range”, Schumacher arranged a reading with him at which they got on very well. Sutherland had just completed work on “Stand by Me” when he was offered the role of David. Schumacher said Sutherland “Can do almost anything. He’s a born character actor. You can see it in The Lost Boys. He has the least amount of dialogue in the movie, but his presence is extraordinary”. 

The Lost Boys opened at #2 during its opening weekend. It went on to gross a domestic total of over $32.2 million against an $8.5 million budget. The impact of the film launched two sequels, comic books and short lived tv series. 

Part 7: Some Lines Shouldn’t Be Crossed

Schumacher’s next big attempt was 1990’s science fiction, supernatural psychological, horror film ”Flatliners”. Produced by actor Michael Douglas and starring an ensemble cast including: Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, Oliver Platt, and Kevin Bacon. For all of “Flatliners” crazy premise, Schumacher doesn’t turn it into a campy picture. 

“Flatliners” is about five medical students who attempt to find out what lies beyond death by conducting clandestine experiments that produce near-death experiences. The film was shot on the campus of Loyola University in Chicago between October 1989 and January 1990 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Sound Editing. The film grossed $61 million at the box office on a budget of $26 million. “Flatliners” is a strikingly original, intoxicating, often brilliantly visualized film. 

Part 8: I Just Want Some Breakfast 

Schumacher’s 1993 film “Falling Down” is considered by many to be his best film. Turning from a producer on “Flatliners” to becoming the star, Michael Douglas is William Foster, a divorced and unemployed former defense engineer. The film centers on Foster as he treks on foot across the city of Los Angeles (released in theatres less than a year after the 1992 Los Angeles riots), trying to reach the house of his estranged ex-wife in time for his daughter’s birthday. Along the way, a series of encounters, both trivial and provocative, causes him to react with increasing violence and make sardonic observations on life, poverty, the economy and commercialism. Robert Duvall co-stars as Martin Prendergast, an aging police sergeant, who on the day of his retirement, faces his own frustrations, even as he continues to track down Foster.

Michael Douglas gives a riveting performance and was certainly his best and riskiest, up to that point since “Wall Street. Michael Douglas’ legendary father Kirk Douglas, at the time of its release had declared “He played it brilliantly. I think it is his best piece of work to date”. Kirk Douglas also defended the film against critics who claimed that it glorifies lawbreaking and Kirk responded: “Michael’s character is not the ‘hero’ or ‘newest urban icon’. He is the villain and the victim. Of course, we see many elements of our society that contributed to his madness. We even pity him. But the movie never condones his actions”. 

The film was entered into the 1993 Cannes Film Festival and nominated for it’s highest honor of the Palme d’Or. It grossed $40 million on a $25 million budget and has since been called Schumacher’s best film and one of Michael Douglas’ most commanding performances. 

Part 9: Adapting The Work Of John Grisham 

By the mid 90s, Schumacher was coming into his own. Legendary legal thriller author John Grisham has asked Schumacher to adapt his best selling legal thriller, “The Client” for the big screen in 1994. Grisham was so pleased with “The Client” that he personally requested Schumacher to return and direct “A Time to Kill” in 1996. 

For “The Client”, Schumacher casted Tommy Lee Jones and Susan Sarandon in the lead roles. The movie was well received and Susan Sarandon received an Oscar nomination for best actress. “The Client” was a success and became Schumacher’s highest grossing film up to that time, grossing over $117 million on a $45 million budget. 

When Schumacher directed “A Time To Kill”, just two years later. It grossed even more than “The Client” and became an even bigger success by grossing $152 million on a $40 million budget. For me personally, “A Time To Kill” is a better picture and one of the best legal thrillers. 

In the tradition of Schumacher’s past films, he continues to assemble an A-list of actors. The cast consists of: Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey, Oliver Platt, Ashley Judd, Kiefer Sutherland and his father Donald Sutherland. 

“A Time To Kill” is also what gave the start to Matthew McConaughey’s leading man career. In the recent passing of Joel Schumacher, McConaughey released a statement stating that he owes his career to Joel Schumacher. In the interview McConaughey discussed how Schumacher put up a fight to get him the leading role in “A Time to Kill”. Here’s what McConaughey had to say: “Joel not only took a chance on me, he fought for me. Knowing the studio might never approve a relatively unknown like myself for the lead in ‘A Time to Kill,’ he set up a secret screen test for me on a Sunday morning in a small unknown studio because as he stated, ‘Even if you do great, you may not get the part, so I don’t want the industry to ever think you screen tested and did not get the job”. 

McConaughey continues: “I remember on days where I would be having a tough time on the set, he would always remind me with the most simple and sound advice a director could give a young man, ‘Hey, you are Jake Brigance. You, Matthew, are the character.’ I don’t see how my career could have gone to the wonderful places it has if it wasn’t for Joel Schumacher believing in me back then”. 

Part 10: Schumacher Takes Over Batman

Next, Schumacher earned directorial rights to helm the next “Batman” feature film, called “Batman Forever in 1995. The first two installments of the series were directed by Tim Burton, but were thought to be too dark and too serious. Schumacher was charged with brightening the series up and having Val Kilmer (“The Doors”), replace Michael Keaton as Batman and Jim Carrey join the cast as The Riddler. Under Schumacher’s direction, the movie became the blockbuster of the summer, raking in $336 millionfrom a $100 million budget. 

Despite a mixed critical reception, “Batman Forever” scored the highest-grossing opening weekend of 1995. It finished as the second highest grossing film of the year in North America and sixth highest grossing worldwide. After the success of “Batman Forever”, Warner Bros. hired Schumacher to direct the sequel, “Batman & Robin” in 1997. 

The film did not perform as well at the box office as its predecessors and was critically panned. It is frequently considered to be one of the worst films ever made and even led to Schumacher’s nickname Joel “I Ruined Batman” Schumacher. Warner Bros had subsequently put the “Batman” film series on hiatus for several years, canceling Schumacher’s next planned Batman movie, called “Batman Unchained”. 

On the DVD commentary, Schumacher admitted that his movie disappointed fans of darker Batman adaptations, saying that the film was made intentionally marketable (or “toyetic”) and kid-friendly. He claimed to have been under heavy pressure from the studio to do so; however, he admitted full responsibility and at one point, apologized to any fans who were disappointed. Schumacher was a devoted Batman fan himself and said he would have preferred to work on an adaptation of the comic known as “Batman: Year One”. 

Warner Bros. rejected the idea of “Batman: Year One” as they wanted a sequel, not a prequel. Although Schumacher was able to include very brief events in Bruce Wayne’s childhood with some events of the comic “The Dark Knight Returns”. Screenwriter Akiva Goldsman, who worked with Schumacher on “The Client”, was brought in to rewrite the script. He deleted the initial idea of bringing Scarecrow in as a villain, along with the Riddler and the return of Catwoman. 

Tim Burton, later reflected he was taken aback by some of the focus group meetings for “Batman Forever”, a title which he hated. Producer Peter MacGregor-Scott represented the studio’s aim in making a film for the MTV Generation with full merchandising appeal. 

Warner Bros. believed that “Batman Returns” had failed to outgross its predecessor due to parent complaints about the film’s violence and dark overtones. Warner Bros asked Burton to step down as director in favor of another director. Both director Sam Raimi (“The Evil Dead”) and John McTiernan (“Die Hard”), were considered, but Joel Schumacher was selected personally by Tim Burton (who produced “Batman Forever”). 

Schumacher eschewed the dark, dystopian atmosphere of Burton’s films by drawing inspiration from the Batman comic books of the Dick Sprang era, as well as the 1960s television series. While production on “Batman Forever” was on the fast track, the films casting choices is an interesting thing to look back on. Especially considering who was wanted before the final actors were casted. First when Michael Keaton decided not to reprise the role, because he did not like the new direction the film series was heading in and rejected the script. Keaton also wanted to pursue “more interesting roles”, as he turned down a $15 million payday for “Batman Forever”. 

A decision was made to go with a younger actor for Bruce Wayne and an offer was made to Ethan Hawke, who turned it down but is said to have regretted this decision years later. Schumacher had seen Val Kilmer in “Tombstone”, but was also interested in Alec and William Baldwin, Dean Cain, Tom Hanks, Kurt Russell, Daniel Day-Lewis, Ralph Fiennes, Johnny Depp and Mel Gibson.

Dean Cain was scrapped as he was well known for starring in the TV series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman”. Kilmer, who as a child visited the studios where the “Batman” TV show was recorded in the 60s and who shortly before had visited a bat cave in Africa was contacted by his agent for the role. Kilmer signed on without reading the script or knowing who the new director was.

For Nicole Kidman’s character of Dr. Chase Meridian originally had Rene Russo casted. With Kilmer’s casting, Warner Bros had dropped Rene Russo, as they considered her too old for Kilmer. Sandra Bullock, Robin Wright, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Linda Hamilton were all considered for the role, which was eventually recast with Nicole Kidman. Billy Dee Williams took on the role of Harvey Dent in Tim Burton’s “Batman” on the possibility of portraying Two-Face in a sequel, but Schumacher cast Tommy Lee Jones in the role, although Clint Eastwood and Martin Sheen were considered. Jones was reluctant to accept the role, but did so after his son’s insistence.

Robin Williams was in discussions to be the Riddler at one point but Williams eventually turned down the role. Williams was one considered in 1989 for the Jack Nicholson role of the Joker. Williams also had contractual issues with “Jumanji”. In a 2003 interview, Schumacher stated Michael Jackson lobbied hard for the role, but was turned down before Jim Carrey was cast. Other actors considered was John Malkovich, Brad Dourif (considered before by Burton to portray Scarecrow) Kelsey Grammer, Micky Dolenz and Steve Martin were considered. Mark Hamill was going to get the role, but he had to turn it down by contract issues, oddly, doubling Joker’s voice in “Batman: The Animated Series”. 

Robin appeared in the shooting script of “Batman Returns” but was deleted due to too many characters. Marlon Wayans had been cast in the role, and signed for a potential sequel, when Schumacher took over, he decided to open up casting to other actors. Leonardo DiCaprio was considered, but decided not to pursue the role after a meeting with Schumacher. Matt Damon, Christian Bale and Scott Speedman were considered also. Chris O’ Donnell portrayed Robin in both Schumacher “Batman” films. 

“Batman Forever” went through a few major edits before its release. Originally darker than the theatrical release, the movie’s original length was closer to 2 hours and 40 minutes, according to Joel Schumacher. There was talk of an extended cut being released to DVD for the film’s 10th anniversary back in 2005. Some of the scenes from the extended cut, were included in the deleted scenes section in the films special features.

Schumacher also served as the director for the music videos of two songs appearing in the franchise: “Kiss from a Rose”, by Seal and “The End Is the Beginning Is the End”, by The Smashing Pumpkins. 

Warner Bros began fast tracking the development for “Batman & Robin” following the success of “Batman Forever”. Schumacher and Goldsman conceived the storyline during pre-production on “A Time to Kill”, while Val Kilmer decided not to reprise the role over scheduling conflicts with his film “The Saint”. Schumacher had a strong interest in casting William Baldwin in Kilmer’s place before George Clooney had won the role. 

“Batman & Robin” had grossed $238 million worldwide against a production budget of $160 million, the film was critically panned and often ranks among the worst films ever made. It is also the lowest-grossing live-action “Batman” film to date. 

As the villains, Arnold Schwarzenegger was cast as Mr. Freeze as Joel Schumacher decided that Mr. Freeze must be “big and strong like he was chiseled out of a glacier”. Schwarzenegger was paid a $25 million salary for the role. To prepare for the role, Schwarzenegger wore a bald cap after declining to shave his head and wore a blue LED in his mouth. His prosthetic makeup and wardrobe took six hours to apply each day. Uma Thurman took the role of Poison Ivy because she liked the femme fatale characterization of the character and Alicia Silverstone was the only choice for the role of Batgirl.

Part 11: Life After Batman

After back to back Grisham and “Batman” films, Schumacher decided to reinvent his career with darker, fare like 1999’s underrated superb thriller, “8mm” with Nicolas Cage. Also another underrated film was Jim Carrey’s dark and gritty turn in “The Number 23” in 2007. While it was a critical flop, it was a moderate financial success.

Schumacher also took his hand to lower budget films, like: “Flawless” with Robert De Niro, the Vietnam-era boot camp drama “Tigerland”, which introduced Hollywood to a young Colin Farrell. In 2003, he released the controversial “Phone Booth”, in which he once again worked with Colin Farrell. The film was shot in 12 days, revolves around an unseen gunman tormenting a publicist who is stuck in a phone booth. The film was delayed for months due to the Beltway sniper attacks.

Schumacher also returned to big budget Hollywood with yet another underrated film in his filmography. “Bad Company” starring Anthony Hopkins and Chris Rock. The film was originally slated to be released in November 2001, but after the September 11 attacks it was pushed back to the summer of 2002 because of its theme about terrorist attacks in New York City. The film was panned by most critics and was a box office failure.

One of his last film projects was a film version of the musical “The Phantom of the Opera” in 2004, an adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original stage musical. Despite mixed reviews, the film earned $154.6 million worldwide (Schumacher’s biggest hit of the 21st century to date) and was nominated for three Academy Awards, as well as three Golden Globes.

In October 2011, Schumacher released “Trespass”, which would ultimately be his last studio film. The action-thriller reunited Schumacher with stars Nicole Kidman and Nicolas Cage. Schumacher who was friends with David Fincher, had directed two episodes of the first season of Kevin Spacey series “House of Cards”, which Fincher produced. It was Schumacher’s last official directing gig. 

Part 12: “I hope the good ones aren’t behind me”.

What makes Joel Schumacher stand apart from other directors is his keen eye for style. The characters in his films appear polished and classy, yet sexy. According to a Movieline article by writer Michael Fleming who once proclaimed, “Why Don’t People Look in Other Movies Like They Look in Joel Schumacher Movies?”. For that, Schumacher credits his childhood spent in movie theaters where he inhaled a steady slate of films with stars like Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, Cary Grant and Marilyn Monroe. 

As Schumacher explained to the magazine, “You went to the movies and saw Grace Kelly, these staggering images on the screen, so I think my early film influences are these archetypes. Like Audrey Hepburn and Gary Cooper. It’s very much how I see film”. With about 35 directing credits under his belt, Schumacher has had nearly every kind of review possible for his films, but he says for the most part, that he ignores them. 

Speaking with Film Journal International ‘s David Noh, Schumacher said he does not read reviews and that “Woody Allen taught me a long time ago, ‘Don’t read them. If you believe the good, you’ll believe the bad’. When they think you’re a genius it’s an exaggeration also, so somewhere between genius and scum is the reality of life”. 

Schumacher who was openly gay but refused to get into discussions about how his sexuality affects him in the movie business. “It never was an issue,” he told Film Journal International’s Noh, noting he does not believe in labels. Though he is considered a veteran filmmaker by many, Schumacher still sees himself as a student. As he told the Guardian’s Peter Curran: “I hope I haven’t made my best one yet, I’m still trying to learn on the job. So I keep stretching and hopefully I keep making better and better films. I hope the good ones aren’t behind me”. Now that Joel Schumacher is no longer with us, the filmography that he has left behind are not just some goods ones, they are great ones that will always be a part of my life as a cinephile. 

•Joel Schumacher’s Top 10 Best Films:



8. “THE NUMBER 23”


6. “8MM”








About Aron Medeiros

Aron Medeiros
Aron Medeiros is the movie critic for Maui Watch. He lives on the beautiful island of Maui and is also a member of the elite Hawaii Film Critics Society and an active cast member of the NerdWatch pod cast. He is a 2003 graduate from King Kekaulike High School. His favorite film of all time is “Back To The Future”. He has worked at Consolidated Kaahumanu Theaters for nearly 13 years as a Sales Associate and making his way up to Assistant Manager. He has loved movies since he was a young boy, where his Grandfather started his love for the movies.

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