This week, The Nerds put it all on the table and confess their embarrassing “guilty pleasure” films. These are some really bad movies, everyone… but we can’t help but love them.
I know what you’re thinking and I agree. Batman & Robin is one of the most terrible films to ever disgrace the silver screen, or any screen for that matter. The script is garbage, the acting is awful, and the production design was way over the top. However, a true Batman fan, comic book fan, or comic book movie fan can actually enjoy it and I will tell you how.
(WARNING: The blog you are about to read may incite anger. Please remember, this is one man’s opinion. Oh, and it’s full of explicit language.)
The Blind Date:
Ahh first loves. We’ve all had them. They provide the base of the do’s and don’ts for future relationships, what we like and don’t like, and what our next relationship will be. It’s an exciting time. My first love was a young thing by the name of Hook. I remember it like it was yesterday…
I was a youngin’, no taller than a fully grown corn stalk. With a curly-fro, and out of date baggy clothes, I found myself on a date without even knowing what a date was. You see, my parents thought that getting to go on playdates would help me open up and make me, well… less awkward. Boy, were they wrong!
On this particular play date was when I first saw her. Dressed in a very whimsical Sunday dress, peppered with pinks, blues, and greens, Hook sat on my couch with a hopeful look. My mother always used to say that I should give something a chance before I judge. Not wanting to disappoint dear old Mom, I made my way over to the couch and sat next to her. Immediately I felt a strange attraction to the young girl, she had a simple smile and sense of wisdom behind her eyes that made her seem much older than she actually was.
My young palms began to sweat. How do I talk to a girl? Do I talk first? Will she speak first and if she says something I don’t like, am I allowed to kick her in the shin? Many questions ran through my mind and silence crept into the room. Just when it was getting unbearable, Hook spoke.
“Do you like Peter Pan?” she asked while looking at me with a hopeful grin.
“Sure,” I replied. “Who doesn’t?”
“Want to hear a story?”
I love stories, I thought. “Okay,” I replied. If she was going to tell me the same story of the young boy who didn’t want to grow up and his fight with the evil Captain Hook, well then…
I’ve already heard it.
She assured me that it was unique: like nothing I had heard before. I agreed to listen and she ushered me over to sit in front of her as she spun her yarn.
She was right. Something was different. She began the story with the famous “I lost my shadow” scene from J.M Barrie’s classic (and of course as seen in the 1953 Disney animated classic), but shortly after beginning, she began to talk of a group of people watching the scene unfold and that an older Peter Pan was watching it. Say what!? OLDER!? Peter Pan was older and was played by the guy from Mrs. Doubtfire (Robin Williams)!? Already… I am Hooked!
She went on with the story of an adult Pan who had forgotten his young life and the place that he called home, Neverland. She spoke of Pan’s encounter with Captain James Hook (Rainman‘s Dustin Hoffman) and he is inability to fly. Hook is astonished. Despite being crushed that his former foe has been transformed into a flightless wimp, Hook is persuaded by his right-hand man Smee (Super Mario Bros’ Bob Hoskins) and the memorable Tinkerbell (Pretty Woman, Julia Roberts), to wait three days for the war that Hook and Pan has always suppose to have.
Already I am excited and have declined a juice box request from my mother. I have no time for snacks, Mom. This shit is serious!
Sans juice box, Hook continues as Pan gets into shape and finds the one thing that he needs: his happy thought. Happy thought procured, Pan is able to fly again and this is where I wish that movies were real.
As she describes his happy thought and his first flight, I find myself itching to make this dream a reality. I want to think of balloons, kittens, or my mother and wish that one of those would allow me to break gravity and see the world from a bird’s perspective.
She continues by explaining Hook’s attempt to steal Pan’s children and turn them against their father; she talks for 144 minutes and I am lapping up each and every word. When she utters her final word about Peter Pan coming back from Neverland and living in the real world and being a better dad, I find myself tearing up. Not only do I need my juice box now, but now I want a hug from my dad.
Hook left shortly after finishing her story, and I was left with this burning feeling in the pit of my stomach. I felt butterflies; I wanted to hear the story once more and the grand ideas she invoked. I was hooked on every syllable she uttered, wanting more and more of her. I was in love. Yet, I would not see her again for some time.
The 2nd Date:
Now 25, I find myself often thinking of the first love and how she made me feel. What is she doing now? Does she still have that simple smile? Are juice boxes unbecoming of a man in his mid-twenties?
On the way home from work, I swung by my parents’ place to shoot the shit, only to find Hook as I found her the first time, sitting on the couch and wearing the same whimsical dress as before. Nostalgia surrounded me and my parents gave Hook and me some time to catch up. Like an echo from the past, Hook looked at me and said, “Do you like Peter Pan?”
Immediately, I took a seat in front of her and she began to tell me the same story. I anticipated all of the joy that I had before: the joy of hearing an older Pan find himself and the search for the happy thought overcame me. Bring it on! Make me feel like a kid again.
But this go around, I found myself having a hard time getting into the story. In fact, the story is a bit on the ridiculous side. So you’re telling me that Peter Pan willingly chose to stay in London and be adopted by an older Wendy Darling (Maggie Smith), but that over time he has forgotten his adventures in Neverland, forgotten how to fly or have an imagination, but Wendy has forgotten none of this!?
Are you kidding me!? Wendy stopped going to Neverland long before Peter did and yet somehow she is able to remember Neverland and the stories of Peter Pan, and the man who actually initiated those adventures, doesn’t remember one fucking thing!?
When she explained how Peter finds himself in Neverland again, after years of being gone, and attempts to speak to the pirates like normal men, I found myself perplexed. He just ran away from a hoard of pirates and now is on a fucking pirate ship and he is still trying to talk to these men, one of them being Capt. Hook mind you, as though they are rational, grounded people!?
No! This doesn’t make sense! Why am I feeling this way? Where is the whimsy? Where is the fun? And where the fuck is my JUICE BOX!?
At this point you’re probably thinking: yeah, yeah. She’s retelling the story. But did you make a move? Did you tell her how you felt? Did you get touch her titty? No my friends. I did not. I could not.
“WHY?” you shout. The reason is my friends is that while she is gorgeous, whimsical, and I am certainly able to get some chub going for her, I found myself ultimately thinking of the morning after. Do I really want to wake up the next morning immediately regretting it?
No, I’d walk-of-shame to my car thinking, “Yeah that was nice.” The best part is that she wouldn’t have laughed when I took off my pants, but I would walk away feeling cheated and disappointed, intellectually and emotionally. I would be wondering why was Mrs. Doubtfire Peter Pan? Why would the same director that gave us Jurassic Park choose the guy who did coked-out standup routines and Mork and Mindy as the fucking lead! Why? Just so he could provide that childish button at the end? Really? You’re telling me that you made that casting decision cause you knew that Williams was going to sell the child-like humor at the end? What about the boring Peter at the beginning? Did that cross your mind at all? That Peter needs to be rigid and more of a dick than you are telling me he is, Hook. I just don’t see that depth.
If I was on this walk, I would think about how much I love Dustin Hoffman, but hate him in this part. How over the top his performance is, how his motivations for being a character are two dimensional, at best. How he seems to exude an air of smugness on screen, but one that I can’t enjoy; that even while he is manipulating Pan’s children I think, this is your arc? You ultimate plan to defeating your foe once and for all, is to kidnap his children and Patty Hearst them? Really!?
And if I were to have gone for it, I would think WHERE THE FUCK DID HOOK GO? That Crocodile was DEAD! It was a turned into a clock tower as symbol of what drives Capt. Hook. He even fucking stabbed it with his Hook and inexplicably smoke came out of this thing. Then when it falls over, it eats him. It eats him.
The inanimate clock FUCKING EATS HIM?
Now this would be when I’d likely vomit out the side of my car out just pure hatred for myself. I would drive away listening to Adele’s “Someone Like You” knowing that I am not the only in the world to have made a mistake like this.
But I didn’t sleep with her. I just let her talk.
After she was done, I told her that I would call her and I left. I’m never calling. I will remember our first date and hold on to that, ever wishing I could go back there, but knowing I can’t.
Hook holds many of my childhood memories, but watching it as an adult, I found a lot of flaws and disappointment. It’s a valiant attempt to tell the story of what would happen to the boy that would never grow-up… if he grew up. However, what’s given to us is a muddled mess of fantasy grounded in reality with no real solid connection of the two. When re-visiting, please try to focus on the nostalgia, not the now.
Until next time….