Entries in Hit Me With Your Best Shot (171)
Hit Me With Your Best Shot returns from its June hiatus for a 75th celebration of the masked vigilante with a thing for winged rodents (here's the future schedule - next week is Under the Skin). We asked anyone who wanted to play to pick a theatrically released Batman film (there are 9 of them) and choose its best shot. Here's what the participants saw when they looked at these pictures.
Click on the photos to read the corresponding articles. It's the Same Bat-Time on Same Different Bat Channels.
BEST SHOTS IN BATMAN FILM FRANCHISE
29 images selected from 9 films by 17 participants
...Or, as I call them: Catwoman (1992) --what? the names not taken since there is no other movie none nuh-uh called this -- and The Joker (2008).
Yes, it's true I intended to watch all 8 Bat Movies before the big event tomorrow night (pick a Bat-Film, any Bat-Film) and select a best shot from each. The idea that I was going to be able to watch eight films, most of them over 2 hours long and write about each of them individually in the space of a week is so ridiculously delusional that maybe I need to be locked up in Arkham Asylum?
But I knew which shots I would choose from both Batman Returns and The Dark Knight without a rewatch (and that's not common for me). Even while watching the movies the very first time in 1992 and 2008 respectively my amygdalae be all "We likey. This moves us. Never forget!"
The reasons to love these two shots and pair them are legion. They're twins in every way I can think of and "Holy Split-Zygote!" does the Batman franchise ever love twins.
We're the same, split right down the center.
Two silent images in madhouse conversation.
Both images are solo shots, weird little character-beat reveries within much fussier action punctuated sequences. In fact, in lesser director's and editor's hands it's easy to imagine them left on the cutting room floor altogether as they're more visual grace notes than story beats. Both images are animalistic, the cat doubled playfully and the dog hanging out the car window to feel the breeze, the only thing missing being his tongue. Both images have no dialogue, they're just hypnotic snapshots of two actors at the peak of their gifts lost in their own inspired headspace fully inhabiting fantastical people. Perhaps most impresively, both images happen to reflect their movies and auteurs, too. Tim Burton's Batman films are a mix of pitch-black night, elaborate production design, playful flourishes and cartoonish verve... all accounted for in this image. They don't take place in the real world - notice everything swallowed by darkness behind Catwoman. There is no real world; Gotham is a soundstage. Chris Nolan's Batman films, in contrast, are a mix of late night restlessness, gritty realism, and told with a straight face and dark majesty... all acounted for in this image. The Joker may be otherworldly but he's intruding in ours; Gotham is Chicago, filmed on location.
Finally, and this is no small matter, what Michelle Pfeiffer and Heath Ledger were doing in both of these movies in roles that haven't always inspired actors or even been taken seriously by them is art, pure and simple. These star turns are film-elevating stylized tragicomedy, so highly peculiar that they could have only come from inspired character actors, so mesmerizing that they could have only come from movie stars. This Catwoman and this Joker are filled with such vivid specificity that though these roles which will surely be played by dozens more actors in the next 100 years, they will always belong to Heath and Michelle.
And now... the main event see all the images chosen in the Best Shot party.
Happy 75th Anniversary to the world's favorite f***ed-up orphan billionaire!
Hit Me With Your Best Shot returns on the evening of July 15th with a special free-for-all episode in which you choose whichever Batman feature film you want to look at and post your choice for its Best Shot. We link up. It's our way of celebrating Batman's 75th birthday. I opted to start at the beginning. No, not Tim Burton's high gothic smash but the special feature edition of the 1960's TV series, which was filmed after season 1 wrapped (the props were reused for follow-up seasons)
Batman (1966) has a ton of sight gags. I'm not claiming that any of them are particularly well-executed but my favorite bar none is Batman's lunatic run holding a lit bomb that he can't find a place to dispose of. It's what would happen if you crossed Batman with a Mr Bean skit. But that joke isn't freeze frameable since it's all in the montage / length. Since this is the only Batman feature that's an intentional comedy (someone will cover Joel Schumacher's movies I'm sure) I had to choose something humorous for my best shot. Nothing is funnier in 60s era Batman than the OCD labelling of everything. It's not enough to have everything shaped like the Bat symbol and called 'Bat-this' and 'Bat-that' but the Bat-name must also be displayed in big letters ON the item in case the hero forgets who he is or what props are (but remembers how to read). Even the four villains (Catwoman, Joker, Riddler and The Penguin) get in on the act with their own labelled shelves in their submarine HQ.
In the movie's opening maritime rescue setpiece Batman dangles from the Bat-Copter on the Bat-Ladder (yes, there's a label on the last rung) when suddenly he emerges from the water with a shark dangling from his leg nine years before Jaws made that a universal nightmare. Batman tries to go all Lara Croft on its ass, but lacking her mad shark-punching skills many years later, Batman needs Robin to save him (but he's not in a hurry about it since he's Adam West and he likes to make each sentence into 3 sentences.)
Hand. Me Down. The Shark Repellent Bat Spray.
Robin climbs down the Bat-Ladder (no one is piloting the Bat-Copter. Just saying). Instead of just handing his Sugar Daddy the Bat Spray Shark Repellent -- it's not like the shark is going to leap legs for Burt Ward's chicken legs when it's already got an Adam West thigh -- the Boy Wonder pauses to be all acrobatic about it and hangs upside down to pass over the spray.
It's super dumb and I love it.
[Gluttons for punishment can check out a few more shots I loved after the jump]
The first half of the 5th season of "Best Shot" began with the most robust participation ever. I hope we can kick it back up to that notch for these final episodes. Here's what's on tap so adjust your queues and join the fun...
Tues July 22nd UNDER THE SKIN (2014)
Scarlett Johansson arrives in alien form in this hypnotic visually driven and disturbing motion picture from disappearing act Jonathan Glazer (Birth, Sexy Beast). If you saw it in theaters you'll want to revisit and if you didn't, you're in for a unique experience. [It arrives for rental and sale on DVD/Blu-Ray on July 14th.]
Tues July 29th CRIES & WHISPERS (1973*)
Since we're celebrating 1973 all July to coincide with the Smackdown, here's your Best Cinematography winner. Ingmar Bergman's extraordinary movie about sisters and death. Cheerful!
*IMDb lists this as a 1972 picture claiming it was released in '72 in the States (and it's true it was nominated for the Golden Globes that year). I haven't done the research but that's mighty confusing since that would seemingly make it ineligible for Oscar play in 1973. It premiered in Bergman's own Sweden in March of 1973 and was a huge out of competition sensation at Cannes in May in 1973 and was up for five Oscars for 1973 (by some accounts, it was Bergman's biggest hit of all time stateside) so I consider it a 1973 picture. Curiously Sweden made no submission for the Oscars in 1973 though this film would probably have trumped the beloved winner, Truffaut's Day For Night.
Tues August 5th TBA
Tues August 12th SUDDENLY LAST SUMMER (1959)
I've been waiting for an opportunity for us all to jump in on Anne Marie's "A Year with Kate" action, so here's our most visually elaborate chance. Her awesome series hits this landmark gothic this week. Since the Tennessee Williams films was directed by four time Oscar winner Joseph Mankiewicz (All About Eve) and stars Katharine Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor (both nominated for Best Actress!) and Montgomery Clift that's five great artists of the cinema all grouped together for our sensationalistic amusement in this insane story of predatory homos, evil mothers, and more... with some of the best taglines the cinema ever gave us outside of Susan Hayward pictures:
...suddenly last summer Cathy knew she was being used for something evil!"
The one they're all talking about"
These are powers and passions without precedent in motion pictures."
August 19th TBA
August 26th TBA
September 2nd TBA - SEASON FINALE
Any suggestions. It gets harder and harder to find movies readily available on multiple platforms now that Netflix keeps losing Instant Watch titles beyond endless B to Z grade movies and doesn't care about their DVD business. Can you believe that Collateral, for example, which is only 10 years old is not available for rent on Amazon or iTunes? And not Instant Watchable on Netflix either. I wanted to do that one but I don't think enough people would participate given its bizarre scarcity.
For the mid season finale of Hit Me With Your Best Shot, and since we've been revisiting 1964 for its 50th, we're looking at the James Bond classic Goldfinger (1964). After selecting the movie I began to worry that perhaps the early image of a dead beauty suffocated in gold paint was too iconic to have people looking elsewhere but trust this crowd to keep their eyes open and receptive to varying beauties. Or maybe the Best Shot club (open to all -why haven't you joined?) was just purposefully avoiding it due to its fame?
Click on the images for the corresponding article...
GOLDFINGER'S BEST SHOTS
9 shots chosen by 12 secret agents of blogging
(in chronological order within the film)
The image, created by Robert Brownjohn is nearly prophetic and totally inadvertently so...
-The Movie Scene *new participant* welcome!
Girls, Girls, Girls..."
-The Film's The Thing
The all-time perfect collision of the things that, to my mind, make Bond Bond..."
-Antagony & Ecstasy
Margaret: Sexy, sexy violence.
Anne Marie: I suppose that’s what happens when you bring your work into the bedroom.
-We Recycle Movies
What I always loved about James Bond is his ability to get under the skin of his opponent - to instinctively know which buttons to push..."
A cramped space that nonetheless is full of detail...
-Drew Byrd *new participant* - welcome!
Hamilton and director of photography Ted Moore shoot much of this film from wide-angles, which makes the film look "big"..."
There's something beautiful about the Bond movies when they slow down..."
-Basket of Kisses via TFE *new participant* - welcome!
Three layers of depth here..."
One of the most fascinating things about this iteration of James Bond is how ineffective he is...
Goldfinger, however, does know how to pop some colors..."
-Coco Hits NY
We need to talk about James Bond's cock in Goldfinger..."
-The Film Experience
Please check out these fine articles. I really enjoyed this finale - some really funny and interesting pieces this time. This is our midseason finale. If you'd like 'Hit Me' to return in July, please do comment and support the series through comments, shares, tweets, and likes.