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Movie: Bats

Released: 1999


With: Dina Meyer, Bob Gunton, Leon

Written By: John Logan

Reason for Watching: LDP!  The movie was part of a Lou Diamond Phillips three pack my brothers got me as a birthday present a few years ago.

I Can Name This Movie In One Note: Bats attack a small town, in about as boring a manner as possible.

You Should See This Movie Because: Lou Diamond Phillips.  Come on.  Lou Diamond Phillips!

You Shouldn’t See This Movie Because: It is really really bad.  I guess it is supposed to be a horror movie, but it isn’t scary so much as not scary.  And it isn’t exciting or funny either.  At least the bats are really friggin’ ugly in the few closeups we get of them.  Basically, it is a terribly written movie.

Bob Gunton (the warden in Shawshank, among other that guy roles) should have been given a much meatier role.  And Leon (of Jamaican bobsled fame) is a terrible waste as the stock wacky/scaredy cat black supporting actor.

Bottom Line: Bats is your typical movie that shouldn’t be made (except to give Sweet Lou a regular paycheck, of course).  Interesting factoid: What do Bats, Gladiator, The Aviator, Sweeney Todd, and Any Given Sunday all have in common?  Answer after a TV Promo

All those movie were written or co-written by John Logan.  I can’t figure it either.


I loved the style of Sweeney Todd but little else. It looks stunning, as Tim Burton flicks are wont to do. The sets are gorgeous in their dingy and gloomy splendor. The colors are vibrant, mostly dark but sprayed with red. Some of the scenes are so stylishly gruesome that they made me groan. The score is great. The Oscar nominations for Art Direction and Costumes are well-deserved.

And merely looking at all of this was enough for a while, but not entirely. The major problem is that Sweeney Todd is a musical but the songs just aren’t good. They have no melody, nothing to hum as you leave the theater. The music should be a style to tell the story but it’s just inaccessible.

I also didn’t really care about the story. It mostly just made me hungry for a meat pie. And to top it off, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter aren’t very good singers. This would be fine if they merely had to compete with Alan Rickman, but all the children in the film can actually sing! It doesn’t serve the movie well that the supporting cast members blow the stars out of the water when given their chance to sing. Depp’s Best Actor is a pretty weak nomination. Except for the singing voice I liked him fine, but I wasn’t blown away.

So I’m glad I saw it because I’m a big fan of Burton’s style but I doubt I’ll go back for a second helping.

Sweeney Todd is, at its core, ridiculous. At least in the sense that if the turns of the plot were translated into a non-musical, it would probably make for a half-decent movie. You know, one of those they can pump out on a weekly basis. But, the thing is, musicals are inherently ridiculous. Unless you normally detail and solve your problems in song and dance. In which case, I commend you. But ultimately, I think Sweeney Todd works, and works well. Read the rest of this entry »

January 2021