Most moviegoers only pay attention to the people actually onscreen, hardly sparing a thought for those who work behind the scenes. There are some exceptions. The average viewer can recognize the style of Tim Burton or notice the similarities in the scores of Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Beetlejuice even without knowing the name Danny Elfman. There are also a couple of behind-the-scenes figures known negatively like Uwe Boll. One of those infamous exceptions is writer/director Joel Schumacher.
To the vast majority of the film watching public, Joel Schumacher is known as the guy who killed Batman with ice puns, Bat Nipples, and the Bat Credit Card. Batman & Robin was an absolute catastrophe reviled by just about everyone. A poll done by Empire magazine in 2010 even named it the worst movie of all time! Unfortunately, most people judge the guy purely because of that one admittedly gargantuan black mark and completely overlook some excellent films he's put together throughout his career.
The Lost Boys
Kiefer Sutherland apparently became Schumacher's go-to guy since he went from heading a gang of vampire bikers in The Lost Boys to heading a group of reckless med students in the creepy-as-hell thriller Flatliners. On a mission to see what happens after death, Sutherland ropes fellow students Kevin Bacon, Julia Roberts, William Baldwin, and Oliver Platt into a dangerous experiment where they would kill themselves just to see the afterlife and get revived. The results really mess with the students' perception of reality, and Schumacher's over-the-top delivery really sells the horror. I don't know if the 2017 sequel will be any good, but the original from 1990 is one of Schumacher's underrated classics.
A Time to Kill
As you can see, Joel Schumacher has done plenty of great stuff. It's such a shame that one terrible movie almost covers all of the good movies up. He's had hits and misses like any other average director, and he deserves recognition for the times he scored rather than just being reviled for his big strikeout.
Are there other good Schumacher films I'm missing? Let me know (as well as any other subject for future installments of Silver Linings)!