Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Bad Timing For BATMAN

Months ago, the Colony Theater in Raleigh (where I work part-time) booked Tim Burton’s 1989 superhero hit BATMAN for Wednesday, February 18th, for their Cool Classics series. The Colony’s General Manager Denver Hill told me that it was timed for the lead up to Michael Keaton winning a Best Actor Oscar for his acclaimed role in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s BIRDMAN.

BIRDMAN - full title: BIRDMAN OR (THE UNEXPECTED VIRTUE IF IGNORANCE) - is undoubtedly Keaton’s comeback to the mainstream, albeit in an abstract indie project, in which his character is an actor aching for a comeback via a shaky Broadway production, after being written off as the star of a superhero franchise.

As its Best Picture Oscar win on Sunday attests, BIRDMAN has a lot more going for it than that meta-aspect but re-visiting the classic Keaton performance that made that angle possible was the agenda for the Colony’s revival screening of BATMAN, and I was excited as I haven’t seen it in over two decades.

To plug the event, I wrote it up in the Film Picks column in the Raleigh News & Observer, and put together a slideshow of behind-the-scenes pics for the Examiner to further promote the show.

But a week ago, the day before the screening, we got hit by what they call a wintry mix that blanketed Raleigh in ice and snow. As a result, only 40 or so people braced the elements to come see Burton's late '80s fan favorite take on the Dark Knight.

We were disappointed that the weather so affected the turnout so Denver made plans to have an encore presentation the following week on Wednesday, February 24th.

In the meantime, despite the film and director Iñárritu winning, Keaton lost the Academy Award to Eddie Redmayne (for THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING) and so the idea of the BATMAN screening celebrating Keaton’s win was, of course, no longer a thing.

This was very surprising as the odds so seemed to be on Keaton to win. I, like many, had predicted such.

And, as the internet has pointed out, Keaton himself thought he had it in the bag as he can be seen tucking his acceptance speech back into his jacket in this clip that’s, of course, gone viral:

When I shared this clip with Denver on a Facebook chat he said: “Jeez. That is sad. But it’s kind of fitting. Seems like a scene from ‘Birdman.’”

It does indeed seem like a postscript for Keaton’s self put-upon character Riggan Thompson.

But what’s also sad is that the Colony’s encore BATMAN screening is again the victim of bad timing as we were hit by another snowstorm today.

Do Mother Nature and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences both have it in for Keaton or what?

Whatever the case, I’m still planning on revisiting the man’s breakthrough lead in BATMAN - whether or not I do it by bracing the elements on Wednesday night, or by putting on the DVD at home, as of this writing, remains to be seen.

More later...

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