Nerd Lunch Podcast 180: Pop Culture Eraser 3

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Nerd Lunch Podcast 180: Pop Culture Eraser 3

Diamonds are not forever in this episode of the Nerd Lunch Podcast. We welcome James from to help us break out the ol’ Pop Culture Eraser again. After meeting him and talking way more about Pod, James Pod than I intended, we erase people and things such as Sean Connery’s Diamonds Are Forever, Star Trek: Enterprise, Crisis on Infinite Earths, the return of Barry Allen, David Carradine, Joel Schumacher, Chris Hardwick and Ryan Seaquest…I mean Ryan Seacrest. Nerd To-Dos feature Mad Max: Fury Road and other stuff not as important as Mad Max: Fury Road.

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  1. Jack February 26, 2017 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Good evening, gentlemen. Jeeg, looks like we're forever destined to disagree; that's what makes it fun, as long as we're civil about it. Bruce Lee in Kung Fu? I agree, Lee would have killed Carradine in the fight scenes, but Kung Fu was never a martial arts show. It was about the religion, the lessons, the peace to be achieved through harmony, and the 2.5 minutes of violence they were allowed each week, while hardly enough to satisfy Lee fans, all contributed to the lesson. The premise of Kung Fu required a sublimely serene leading character.

    Take a deep breath, Grasshopper, close your eyes, and try to imagine Bruce Lee attempting to convey serenity. Alert as a meerkat, he was almost comically hyper, rarely still for more than a second at a time. I believe that had he gotten the role, Kung Fu would have been a one-hit bust, as people tuning in to see him fight would be sadly disappointed, and it may have even damaged his legacy as an action star. I really think Carradine was spot-on for that role because of his ability to achieve calm, plus, as a trained dancer, learning the short fight sequences was just so much choreography to him. Too bad he didn't look more Chinese, though, it would have helped sell it better…

  2. James (@007hertzurmble) February 26, 2017 at 12:48 am - Reply

    I'll defend my elimination of Schumacher! His filmography is a litany of poor movies and unrealized potential. I do not feel that Schumacher brought anything unique to the table. His style in the 80's came from other popular filmmakers working at the same time. His best trait was always his chameleonic ability to shift styles and genres. But how much value is there in a director that merely spreads his seed of mediocrity?

    I'll concede the point about his aesthetic. I'd use The Lost Boys as the pinnacle of his visual style, however. The Lost Boys was photographed by Michael Champman, who shot Taxi Driver and Raging Bull for Scorcese. Joel's movies are well shot, but I've never thought they were ever "breathtaking." They're intermittently notable. That's the best I can do there. Breathtaking is Barry Lyndon. Breathtaking is Blade Runner. Serviceable is Joel Schumacher.

    I've heard arguments for A Time to Kill but I still find it to be bland, uninteresting cinema rehashing tired Hollywood tropes. The Client I'll get behind. I agree it's one of the better Grisham adaptations… but that's almost like coming up with a list of the best Katherine Heigl movies.

    I'm not going to argue that Schumacher didn't make an occasional good movie. We didn't even bring up what might have been his best post-1990 film in Tigerland (the other option being Falling Down). He made three solid movies before 1987… but over the larger course of his career I'm staring at a list of movies I don't really ever want to watch again. Did he ruin Batman? Likely not. But that's why I thought he was an interesting erasure. Does the series take a different tact without Schumacher's deliberate attempt to shoehorn Tim Burton back into a comic book aesthetic? I have fun blaming Schumacher for Batman, but that doesn't mean I release WB from fault here. They wanted more more more and *that* killed the series.

    Schumacher had become a scapegoat of mine because of Batman but also because I've truly disliked a good number of his films. (8mm. Batman & Robin. Flatliners. Dying Young — but admittedly this is not my kind of film) And found twice as many disappointing or totally forgettable. A better choice for elimination would have been Brett Ratner, but where's the fun in arguing that point? I'd rather stir the pot with a director that some deem worthwhile.

  3. Carlin Trammel February 26, 2017 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Thanks for the comments, Shawn. I wish I could have better defended Schumacher on the show. I think he gets a bad rap for one movie in particular.

    Sadly, once the Pop Culture Eraser is taken out of the package, it has to be used.

  4. Shawn Robare February 26, 2017 at 12:48 am - Reply

    Just felt the need to add my two cents in defense of Joel Schumacher's cinematic style, he does indeed have a very distinct style and I think it was a very important one in pop cinema in the 80s and 90s. He brought a very hyper and dynamic view to cinema with a mix of quick cuts, swooping point of view camera work that celebrated a high contrast aesthetic. His use of both natural light sources (fire, candles, etc) and urban neon to light nighttime scenes is breathtaking in its beauty.

    Other things to note, he also wrote Car Wash (as well as DC Cab), so those sort of urban/blaxsploitation crossover flicks for a wider audience are pretty impressive. He directed two of the better John Grisham movies, not just a Time to Kill, but also The Client. He wrote and directed Flawless which was a star-making turn for Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

    And don't even get me started on Batman. As if he could be responsible for the downfall of those two films. Those movies were destined to fail regardless. Let's not forget the corner that Tim Burton painted the character into with the previous two films (highly campy, weird, filled with hammy stunt-casting, and made with an aesthetic that was bizarre), and I love those first two movies. But having to replace Keaton (a huge hurdle), keep the aesthetic and tonal continuity (WB wasn't ready to reboot just yet), stunt-cast villains, having to try and top the last two, and the fact that it was made at the pinnacle of 90s horrible fashion and design, those are a lot of flaming pins and chainsaws to be juggling. Nipples were going to be put on the Batsuit no matter who directed those. WB forcing already designed toys on Schumacher to try and Schumacher-horn into the movie didn't help either. Lets also not forget the history of the character in the comics and on TV, more specifically the comics and TV that Schumacher would have been directly influenced by.

    So yeah. 😉

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