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Classic Scene #12

Don’t Look Now, 1973, Nic Roeg

If the world is round why is a frozen pond flat?

Don’t Look Now is a ghost story with a difference, built on the usual Gothic principles of premonition and dread but complicated by more emotionally profound kinds, the unspoken fears lurking in every parental mind, the potential for loss, the devastation of grief and guilt. The result is like nothing else. Roeg’s unique style, a quantum splintering of time, poetic connections between images, motifs chiming, cameras zooming with woozy significance, all come together in this opening scene to create a technically sublime waking nightmare, horror movie rhyming with muddy reality, every superstitious fear rooted in real fear, verified by it, the unthinkable making everything possible, necessary even. 

Failed superhero films I’d have liked to see:

  • Tim Burton’s Superman Lives. Not because I think it would have been good, but because it would have been a cult classic. Nic Cage as a black-clad gritty-as-seen-by-Tim-Burton Superman fighting polar bears and battling a giant spider would have been hilarious.
  • Tim Burton’s Batman 3. I mean, Batman Forever wasn’t as bad as it could have been, but if Tim Burton had gotten to make Batman Returns entirely his way and continue with the sequel, we’d have gotten a much better film. Billy Dee Williams as Two-Face, Robin Williams as the Riddler, Jeff Goldblum as Scarecrow, Marlon Wayans as Robin, Michael Keaton back as Batman, and Rene Russo as Chase Meridian? Not knocking the people who were in the finished product at all, but it would have been a great trilogy rather than two good films, one mediocre one, and one complete fiasco.
  • James Cameron’s Spider-Man featuring Doc Ock. Another one that would have been a cult classic. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Doc Ock with, “Okey dokey!” as a catchphrase, sometimes shouted angrily? It would have been hilarious and Avatar would never have happened!
  • Ivan Reitman’s The Batman. I honestly don’t know if Bill Murray as Batman and Eddie Murphy as Robin in a serious Batman film in 1985 would have been great or terrible, but I want to know.

Failed superhero films I’m glad failed:

  • Joss Whedon’s X-Men. Apparently, it was all pop culture references and jokey back-and-forths, and the only thing left from it in Singer’s film is Storm’s cheesy-as-fuck, “What happens to a toad when it’s struck by lightning? Same as anything else!” line.
  • James Cameron’s Spider-Man featuring Electro. An “edgy/gritty” Spider-Man that swears a lot and rapes MJ (Cameron would not classify it as such, but it definitely is) is not a film I want to see.
  • Tobe Hooper’s Spider-Man. The owners of the studio that first picked up the feature rights thought based on the name that it was like a werewolf story but with a guy turning into a giant spider, and even after being corrected, decided to go that route.
  • Darren Aronofsky’s Batman: Year One. Batman being raised in an apartment above the auto garage of black caricature/mechanic Big Al, making his suit out of hockey gear, and driving a Lincoln Continental might be an interesting AU graphic novel, but not a movie I want to see.
  • Michael Chabon’s X-Men. Dude wanted to wait until the second movie to introduce the villains, and just make the first movie about the team coming together and the drama of all that. An X-Men movie with no villains or battles seems wild pointless.
  • Superman: Flyby. Whether McG or Brett Ratner had directed, JJ Abrams’ script was like Man of Steel but worse. And I would not have wanted to see Josh Hartnett, Brendan Fraser, or Jared Padalecki as Superman.
  • Joel Schumacher’s Batman Triumphant. Thank God there was never a third Schumacher Batman, especially one with Harley Quinn being Joker’s daughter trying to avenge her father’s death.
  • Terry Gilliam’s Watchmen. The script failed to capture what Watchmen was really about, and the casting was odd. Arnold Schwarzenegger as Dr. Manhattan (what?), Robin Williams as Rorschach (what?), Kevin Costner as Nite Owl (ehh), Gary Busey as the Comedian (this one actually makes sense), and Sigourney Weaver as Silk Spectre. Talented actors, baffling choices for these parts.
  • Darren Aronofsky’s or Paul Greengrass’ Watchmen. Moving it to the modern day misses the point and Hilary Swank as Silk Spectre is completely nonsensical casting.