The Curator of Schlock #84 by Jeff Shuster

Batman & Robin

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When you’re young and foolish, you do foolish things. Like going to see Batman & Robin because you’ve seen every Batman movie in the theater including the animated Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and excluding that 1960s Batman movie since you technically hadn’t been born yet.

The movie starts. Robin makes a joke about “chicks digging the car.” A hearty chuckle ensues. Maybe this movie won’t be so bad.

You see George Clooney as Batman. Later in the fall, you’ll be in a film class where the professor will ask who is Superman’s arch nemesis. A student will then answer Lex Luthor. The professor will then ask who is Batman’s arch nemesis. Another student will reply George Clooney. But you’re not in that class yet. You’re still, alas, watching Batman & Robin for the first time.

Batman and Robin are fighting a new villain named Mr. Freeze and his hockey team from Hell/

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You hear the first bad one-liner from Ahhhnold and hear the first Hannah Barbara sound effect. One of your friends starts screaming, “This sucks! This sucks! This is stupid!” right in the middle of a crowded theater. He’ll continue doing this for the rest of the feature. You don’t bother to silence him for being rude. He’s right. No one else in the theater tries to silence him because he is so right.

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They’re really isn’t any part of this movie that doesn’t suck. Director Joel Schumacher will apologize for this travesty, but it won’t be enough. Every rubber suit in this movie has nipples. Even Mr. Freeze’s suit has nipples, and he’s impervious to the cold!

What is with all of these stupid one-liners from Ahhhnold.

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You are not sending me to the cooler? Cool Party? Stay cool, bird boy?

Other movies would come out that summer of ’97 to help you forget. Movies like Con Air, Air Force One, and Air Bud. And Face/Off! You’ll never forget Face/Off, the one where Nicholas Cage and John Travolta get their faces removed and stuck on each other. You’ll see that one three times in the theater because you’ll go with different groups and don’t want to be the party pooper. You’ll kind of only need to see Face/Off once because the whole face off and on thing will where thin on repeated viewings. In fact, the gimmick was plagiarized from Diamonds Are Forever.

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One day, you’ll be traveling to Dallas by train to visit a friend. You’ll have to catch a bus in Houston to make it the rest of the way to Dallas. While you wait in the bus station, a movie will be playing: Batman & Robin.

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You’ll suffer through all 125 minutes again (That’s over two hours!). When the movie is over, the bus station attendant sticks another movie into the videocassette recorder. It’s Wild Wild West!

Your bus arrives just in time.

Five Things I Learned from Batman & Robin

  1. Plastic ice looks exactly like plastic ice.
  2. Jessie Ventura was in a Batman movie.
  3. You can judge a movie within the first two minutes.
  4. Summer blockbusters of 1997 are a reminder of why I got into independent movies.
  5. This movie really needed Jim Carrey.

Photo by Leslie Salas.
Photo by Leslie Salas.

Jeffrey Shuster (episode 47episode 102episode 124, and episode 131) is an MFA candidate at the University of Central Florida.

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