Superman Movie Minute – Richard Donner


Chris and Rob pause their look at SUPERMAN III to pay tribute to the late, great Richard Donner.

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5 responses to “Superman Movie Minute – Richard Donner

  1. My favorite Richard Donner film? That’s a tough one. I have such special memories of several of them. Ultimately I think I will have to go with The Goonies because it is just such a fun and wonderful experience. It’s the kind of adventure every kid that age dreamed about having.
    Personally, I don’t think Donner made gray films… I think Donner MADE films GREAT! Look at his filmography. The Omen, Superman, Ladyhawke and The Goonies all could have been terrible films if not taken seriously. (Ok, Goonies isn’t a “serious” film” but stick with me here.) Other filmmakers might have looked at these films as ridiculous camp and made them that way. Other filmmakers may have looked at these films as “beneath them” and half assed the production and collected their paycheck. It is clear to me, that Donner took pride in what his name was attached to and approached every movie he made as if it were his Citizen Kane. (I know that sound like hyperbole, but I really do mean that.) I am a huge lover of film, the good, the bad and the ugly. I’ve seen so many terrible films, that were terrible simply because the people making it did so strictly for the money. I remember seeing a making of feature for a terrible zombie film that I will not name here but the producer was speaking to his actresses about how to kill zombies. To paraphrase he said “Look I know we’re not doing Tolstoy here, but if you don’t kill zombies write we’ll get a bunch of nerd whining ‘That’s not how you kill a zombie’”. It’s just hat attitude that will destroy your film. If you don’t think your film or audience is is worthy of your effort don’t make it!
    Donner put everything he had into his movies and they stand tall because of it.

  2. SCROOGED was a holiday tradition in the Daly household by the 1990s. We had a VHS tape full of Christmas specials, like Rudolph and Frosty and Mickey’s Christmas Carol. On Christmas Eve, after dinner we always watched whatever version of A Christmas Carol was showing on TV, but in the days leading up to it we always watched Scrooged and National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

    THE GOONIES was a perennial favorite of mine growing up. I think the whimsical adventurous spirit of the movie appeals to Children, and those of us whose inner child never goes away. I’ve heard from adults who think it’s overrated, and I think if it didn’t catch you when you were a kid, irobably never will. I was the perfect age to see it, and, just like with STAND BY ME (one of my all-time favorites) so much of it resonated with me because I recognized myself and my friends in the characters.

    LETHAL WEAPON 2 is the first R-rated movie I saw in the theater. A friend’s mother took us to see, it; I don’t know how she got us in because I was seven years old at the time. Probably we went to see Batman for ninth time and it was sold out so we went into the other theater. (This is the same friend whose parents took me to the 9:30 PM Batman on opening night, again, when I was only seven years old. Good times. Too bad that friend turned to crime.) I just remember when the sex scene in Lethal Weapon 2 came on, she leaned over and said, “If this is confusing, ask me when the movie is over.” I had no questions about that.

  3. This was an excellent memorial episode. You guys did an admirable job talking about Mr. Donner. Like you mentioned, though it’s terribly sad, as a man in his ’90’s, he lived a full and amazing life.

    By far my favourite Donner film is Superman, with a tie for 2nd between The Goonies and Scrooged. And I’m not just saying that because this is Superman Movie Minute! Though if Scrooged Movie Minute comes along…..Anyways, seeing Superman as a kid, I really did believe a man could fly and that was all due to how Donner approached the material. It almost legitimatizes one’s comic passion when someone else outside of the medium takes it seriously and it meant so much to see a movie like Superman.

    Well done again. It’s too bad this episode needed to air, because of his passing, but you guys did an amazing job putting to words how we are all feeling. Thank you.

  4. Very moving show, Chris and Rob.

    My favorite Donner has to be Superman. I mean, look what it did for my life and core values.

    He will be very missed. He was what I would consider a fearless filmmaker. He took chances, didn’t let himself get pigeonholed, and made classics — TRUE CLASSICS. (incidentally, that isn’t a swipe at Rob’s pronunciation of the word)

  5. Two thoughts:

    1) You guys are so fortunate to have that memory of speaking with Richard Donner. By all accounts, he was a remarkable man and just a joy to work with. I always go back to Gene Hackman’s comments on Donner from a “Making of” documentary and how much affection Hackman always seemed to have for him.

    2) While he never made a Citizen Kane (although I would argue Superman is up right there with CK in terms of influence and appeal), Donner accomplished something that is just as remarkable but doesn’t get acknowledged nearly enough: he never made a bad film. He knew his craft, he knew how to get the best possible work out of his cast and crew, and his films were always well done and entertaining. I mean, on a rainy afternoon when you want to put something on to watch, are you more likely gonna go with, say, Goonies or Lawrence of Arabia?

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