Bestest or Bad Idea?: MoMA’s Tim Burton Retrospective
June 15, 2009

Did you hear the breaking science news?  The Museum of Modern Art’s developed a nuclear-grade nostalgia bomb: on November 22nd, they plan to drop a career-wide Tim Burton retrospective, after which scores of movie lovers will be indubitably reduced to smoldering piles of enthusiastic screams and hyperventilation.  Really, every day at the MoMA will look like this:

janet-leigh-pyscho-squeee

My breath is quickening, my hands are shaking, and my ears are already bleeding from my anticipatory shrieks!  It’s just.  Too.  MUCH!  GYAH!!!

(…sorry ’bout that.)

Anyways, it’ll feature over 700 pieces (ranging from illustrations to film props and beyond), as well as a retrospective film series, so MoMA’s also discovered the way to beat the recession.  An exhibition this elaborate is going to inspire pilgrimages from the world over, and I highly imagine NYC is going to have to go on Nerd Alert: High ’til April 26th.  I be up on this exhibit like an ornate pattern on Nomi Malone’s fingernails, natch, yet I can’t help adding a splash of Maybeline’s “Conspicuously Cautious” to my Excitement nails.

It’s certainly spectacular to have Tim Burton’s work get such prestigious treatment.  He’s built a career on channeling his darkly whimsical imagination into camp, kitsch, and pop sensibility.  His moviess have a distinct look, and his stories frequently center around the Other as misunderstood protagonist.  He’s parlayed awkward-kid status into an career that transcends niche.  For those of us who were sympathetic to characters’ alienation, Burton built us a home that wasn’t erected in the seedy back alleys of nigh-forgotten cult; we got the warm flicker of celluloid and the buttered-popcorn scent of the multiplex.  Can any other contemporary filmmaker claim such success?  I think not, so YAY!

Plus, let’s not forget that whole film retrospective.  Like most all movies, his filmography will play better on the big screen, but I think a few are particularly well-suited.  Like Batman Returns:

Inspiredly insane performances by Danny DeVito and Christopher Walken?  A Batman movie about a nefarious business man and a twisted scheme to kill Gotham’s first-born children?  The sublime camp pleasure of Michelle Pfeiffer’s vixen-bitch Catwoman?  The undeniable batshit insanity that this was all squeezed into a studio-funded, action-figure shilling summer blockbuster?  Yes, my dears, the 90s were littered with Hollywood’s strange decisions, and Batman Returns was one of the strangest for sure.

But Mars Attacks! probably takes the strange cake:

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Give Me a Good Reason to Not See Chéri
April 2, 2009

Oh, wait, there are none.  Just look at this period-piece hotness:

This.  Looks.  Fabulous.  

I would gladly just sit for forever watching Michelle Pfeiffer and Kathy Bates read each other the phone book while lunching on tuna sandwiches and getting pedicures.  I’m not quite sure why I have such a specific image in my head, but if you imagine it, you too will realize that its incredibly delightful.  Throwing them in such gorgeous and colorful costumes and casting them as retired courtesans in turn-of-the-century Paris is like a delectable, pink buttercream icing on an already decadent homo cake.  Knowing that Stephen Frears, who’s responsible for some damn fine films like High Fidelity and Dirty Pretty Things, is playing chef to this cinematic dessert only confirms the already obvious: Chéri will be delicious.  

June 26th cannot come quickly enough!  Me so hungry right now!

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