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:
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: