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Blast from the Past: Batman Forever 

When? 1995

What's it rated? PG-13

Where's it available? DVD, Amazon, iTunes

I'm writing about Joel Schumacher's Batman Forever this week because my editor, alleged Stanford graduate and human labrador retriever, Peter Johnson, said I couldn't write an entire column about Seal's two music videos for "Kiss From A Rose" (yes, there are two).

click to enlarge SEAL OF APPROVAL Batman Forever may not have Danny DeVito, but it does have Jim Carrey and a song by Seal that plays over the closing credits. And sometimes that's all you need. - PHOTO COURTESY OF WARNER BROS. PICTURES
  • Photo Courtesy Of Warner Bros. Pictures
  • SEAL OF APPROVAL Batman Forever may not have Danny DeVito, but it does have Jim Carrey and a song by Seal that plays over the closing credits. And sometimes that's all you need.

I think I was 5 when I first saw Batman Forever, and it definitely was the first Batman movie I watched all the way through. The only other one I'd seen up to that point was in fractured segments and it had Danny DeVito dressed up as a murderous goth penguin that kept trying to kill Michael Keaton.

Danny DeVito is scary enough to a toddler before you smear a bunch of white foundation all over his face and surround him with flightless ice birds.

But this movie doesn't have Danny DeVito. It has Tommy Lee Jones, Val Kilmer, and Jim Carrey, all of whom were apparently so annoying on set that Schumacher vowed to never work with any of them again. Despite this, he and Carrey did The Number 23 a few years later, so maybe it was just that Val Kilmer is as hard to work with as some in Hollywood claim, and Tommy Lee Jones really is a dick. According to Carrey, Jones told him he "hated him and all his movies" when they first met, and anyone willing to say that to Jim Carrey is probably an asshole.

This might be why Jones was considered a perfect fit for the role of Two-Face because his character seems to dislike everyone. Well, at least before he develops some creepy relationship with Carrey's Riddler that is borderline bromance, but really leans toward disturbing.

Nicole Kidman is in this movie and she honestly deserves way more credit than she gets for pulling out a solid performance while dealing with Tommy Lee Jones being a grouchy old curmudgeon and Carrey allegedly accidently breaking prop canes and furniture trying to stay in character.

My two favorite tidbits of trivia for Batman Forever are: 1) All the riddles delivered by Carrey were written by Will Shortz, the editor for The New York Times crossword puzzle and 2) Director Joel Schumacher asked singer/artist/Heidi Klum-hater Seal to shoot a second music video for his song, "Kiss From A Rose."

Growing up I was told "Kiss From A Rose" was written specifically for Batman. But after a cursory glance at the lyrics you will learn that "Kiss From A Rose" has nothing to do with Batman. In fact, I'm not even sure Seal knows what it's about. "I have avoided explaining these lyrics for over 25 years," he told fans on the website Genius in 2015. "I am not going to start doing it now."

I don't blame him. But I'm thankful that Schumacher talked Seal into filming a second music video where he just lip syncs next to the Bat Signal while footage from the movie plays over it.

My point here is the first version wasn't even released for a year or so, and it involved Seal as a photographer taking pictures of a supermodel. It comes across as an Austin Powers scene without any humor and a lot of bad lighting. The videos are parallel opposites in this sense because it's impossible to be poorly lit in front of a gigantic searchlight with a bat emblazoned on the front.

There are a lot of terrible things in the world, but both versions of "Kiss From A Rose" do not fall in that ever-widening category. Batman Forever is OK too, I guess. Δ

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