Joel Schumacher 1939-2020


Hollywood is mourning the loss of an influential and versatile filmmaker this week as Joel Schumacher has reportedly passed away after a year-long battle with cancer. His impressive career spanned four decades, highlighted by films like St. Elmo’s Fire and The Lost Boys in the ’80s as well as the divisive Batman Forever and Batman & Robin in the late ’90s. He always managed to adapt with the times and there is no question that he left a major impact on pop culture. He was 80 years old.

Joel Schumacher started his Hollywood career as a costume designer on a handful of films in the early ’70s including Woody Allen’s Sleeper and Interiors. He wrote screenplays for the musicals Sparkle and The Wiz before getting his first chance to direct on the 1981 comedy The Incredible Shrinking Woman starring Lily Tomlin. After his second film, D.C. Cab, he ended up delivering two huge hits with the Brat Pack films St. Elmo’s Fire and The Lost Boys, launching his career into the stratosphere.

In the early ’90s, Schumacher directed Flatliners and Falling Down as well as a couple of John Grisham legal thrillers (The Client and A Time to Kill). He inherited the Batman franchise from Tim Burton and directed a couple of poorly received sequels, but he eventually bounced back in the early 2000s with a couple of his best reviewed films: the war drama Tigerland and the high-concept Colin Farrell thriller Phone Booth. His final movie was 2011’s Trespass, although he did direct a couple of episodes of House of Cards as well. What are your favourite Joel Schumacher films?

  • doubledragfool

    R.I.P. You guys could make a fun premium out of his films!

  • colin the dude

    Non-Batman Schumacher premium?

    St. Elmo’s Fire
    The Lost Boys
    Falling Down
    Phone Booth

  • Sean

    We did The Lost Boys on the ’80s vampire premium but it would definitely be fun to revisit some of the others. I have never seen St. Elmo’s Fire.

  • colin the dude

    Oh yeah. Maybe throw in A Time to Kill. Or if you’re daring, purposely watch a really bad one. Flawless, Bad Company, The Number 23. Could make for a fun convo.

  • This would be an interesting Premium as these movies are all very medicore. Almost the definition of mediocre. In fact, you could call the entire episode “Flatliner.”

    I JUST rewatched Falling Down since it’s initial VHS release and it is not as good as I was hoping it would be. I didn’t realize how bad of a filmmaker Schumacher was. I’m sure he was a great guy and it’s too bad he’s passed on. But I doubt I’ll ever rewatch any of his movies ever again. Except maybe “A Time to Kill” or “8mm” just for the Cage factor.

  • Rolf

    Oh no… FALLING DOWN is such an entertaining genre flick. It’s ultra-right wing but I think Schumacher purposely played it broad to mock it. Douglas is fantastic. My favorite role of his for sure. Oh, and I love 8MM. You can tear it apart but it builds up some good atmosphere and tension. Plus Cage’s reaction to the snuff flick is pure Oscar Gold.

  • 1138sw

    RIP Joel Schumacher. Thanks for the Lost Boys St. Elmos Fire etc etc…another great loss.