‘Gotham’ Episode 3: Writers, You Must Be Trippin! Show Me Better!

Penguin has arrived back to Gotham, and as if that wasn’t enough drama, we now have our latest villain, the “Balloon Man.” Yes, that’s right, he hustles with balloons, sadistically and ritually conducting balloon-carrying shenanigans with federal folk or Detective Gordon’s crew or whatever. Oh, wait, I don’t think I explain that well enough.

Well, Gotham really has gone crazy since the Waynes have died. People that have access to balloons have access to murder? Wow. Okay, so we have this crazy new villain that’s short-lived and only for this episode—please, dear writers, don’t allow such short-lived villains on this show, it’s cheap, and cheap is cheap…(referencing that quote from Midnight in Paris, which was such a chill Allen movie).

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The truth is, the villain in this episode only serves as a motif for an fucked up government. I asked myself, “Really? Why not give more attention to Penguin?” He’s yet our favorite villain! I already told everyone in the last review he was so Saint Laurent circa 2009! This show better showcase Penguin….because we’re in love with his darkness.

Cat (IMDB credited as Selina Kyle, not the young Hollywood actress, the character), gives Detective Jim Gordon some information and it’s basically the true evidence that Cat had suggested from the previous episode. He finally believes in her when his shoes are plucked with mud and an identification card is spotted in the midst of the location where the Waynes were killed. The information she gives him is true. Of course it’s true, it’s CAT! She’s one we’re rooting for. I pray that Cat and Bruce lock lips in a future episode.

We love Cat because she’s a true fighter and and she seems to actually care about Lil Bruce Wayne. We all do! We all know he’s becoming what we all need in our government: Batman. That’s what he is! What he is to become! He’ll become president because he serves justice. That’s what a president does, right? I don’t know, actually. If he doesn’t become Batman what will he become…..Will this show fail? Will Fox executives become distraught knowing they could’ve done better? 

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Tonight, Jada Pinkett Smith’s outfit appeared as if a slippery snake had been wrapped around her neck. She was, basically, being such a cold hard bitch, like the previous episodes, except for less dialogue. Dear WRITER(S) : allow Jada more dialogue because she’s working this shit. This is huge. Sorry, writer, or writers, I didn’t like this episode that much.

I wasn’t even interested in looking up the credits of this episode. After the model-look-a-like waiter came back bruised from that Italian mafia crew last week, Jada, sorry, I meant MOONEY, was not happy. I’m sorta being a fan girl here with Jada on this show. So Mooney wasn’t happy and probably had a breakdown, but that was, obviously, not allowed. This writer or writers or whatever, they didn’t give two shits about Ms. Mooney. It was cut short. Snooze…

Penguin also feigned a foreign *cough* *cough* Russian accent that was so not believable. He said he was from Odessa when an obvious spectator of the television media decided to punch that one guy he saw “convicted”, which was Oswald aka Penguin, duh. He’s literally working through some random Italian mafia restaurant business in Gotham. It absolutely reeks of Mulberry Street stereotype, but like, in a super fake set of Gotham way. Wow, so just how fake can we get with this episode? Anyway, Penguin’s questioned about such Italian authenticity and he’s obvi not Italian. It’s sort-of funny but, then again, this humor being used is sorta contrived. 

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Also, how could we forget how Gotham introduces a lesbian plot twist? It’s funny, in my last review I mentioned  that I thought Detective Jim Gordon had minimal passionate chemistry with Miss Barbara. But, literally, she’s head-over-heels (obvi) with a past lover, who’s also a detective associated with Gordon. OMFG! This is juicy! But, the episode suggest something that’s short-lived. Why get a wide audience on Fox such little hope for a lesbian relationship? Could this be a ploy for viewers to tune in? Nuh-uh…. Not in my house, Tay says!

Okay also, Barbara, Gordon’s supposed golden girl, totally smokes weed way too much. Yeah, right…. Come on past lover Renee….. (Wait, do we love Renee?) According to Renee, Barbara, her (past fling?) girl, she does indeed smoke way too much weed. That’s intense. So, basically, like, these two characters really know each other from the past? DAMN! I love a good lesbian twist that respects the lesbian community or, at least, entertains such demographic. That’s, literally, like, so hard….trust me. So yeah, wonder why Barbara suckers up to Mr. Gordon at the end of the episode…”I love you!” Hmm, maybe you should suggest a menage á trios?

The plot has become lost. Why introduce sexuality, particularly a lesbian plot twist?  It almost seems minor. What are you going to do with the lesbian plot twist? At this point, the lesbian plot twist almost stinks of some artistic ploy. But, if you’re reading this third episode review, you have indeed followed my train of thought correlating with this series. Is the lesbianism going to be momentarily serviceable for the show or is this developed relationship with Barbara going to be major?

So Penguin shows up at the door when Barbara is totally dressed up to please Detective Gordon after all the drama. Oswald is absolutely not happy about Gordon shooting him into the river. I wouldn’t be either. Okay, so basically the sex scene we could’ve witnessed between Gordon and his girl was cancelled? What’s going to happen with them? Writers, where are you taking us in this Gotham journey?

It’s not that I’m absolutely apathetic about this episode, it’s just that I didn’t think the “Balloon Man” suggested such a motif of corrupt government enough. Sorry, I hope this review made sense. But, secretly, I’d rather eat a burrito from a Taco Bueno drive-thru in Dallas, Texas than watch this episode. SNOOOOOOOZE, YOU LOSE! This episode wasted my time. The only part that I looked forward to was, and I mean this sincerely, was Penguin showing up at Detective Gordon’s front door at the end. Not enough Jada….Not enough Cat…..Not enough…Hm…Not enough Lil Bruce Wayne…Not enough of what I wanted.

And to all New Yorker Gotham fans or readers:

Wait, it was actually so funny they (the whole production) shot on White St. I have many inside jokes about White St.—you know what I mean? Don’t act like TriBeCa isn’t funny….It sort of is….

I feel bad, like I’m discouraging readers to not watch this show, because I’m not! I just hope you enjoy my GIFS. Gotham is a good show. Why would I be reviewing it every week? It’s going to get crazy! 

Xavier Dolan Writing His First American Film ‘The Death & Life of John F. Donovan’ & More from MoMA

Last night, the charming and unfathomably talented Xavier Dolan took to the stage at MoMA in conjunction with their Modern Mondays and Canadian Front 2013—which not only premiered his debut feature I Killed My Mother in the US, but screened his sophomore effort Heartbeats, as well as his incredible upcoming epic love story Laurence Anyways. The 23-year-old actor/director/writer sat down last night for a conversation with MoMA’s Raj Ray and Indiewire’s Peter Knegt for two hours, covering everything from his voiceover work as Taylor Lautner’s character in the French-dubbed Twilight films, the importance of childhood on his cinematic mind, and his next feature, his first American film.

And for someone so insanely gifted and young who makes these films that are not only aesthetically and atmospherically engaging and dynamic, but extremely intelligent with great emotional weight and complexity, you might assume when asked to give his influences he would throw around some movies from Truffaut to Malle to van Sant. But no, the clips he chose to show from some of his favorite works that echoed the absurd and playful yet genuine and honest sensibility that’s alive in all of his films. The videos he showed were from films that he fell in love with either in childhood or recent years, projects that fulfilled their mission to excite, engage, and entertain and have stuck with him. Jumanji, Batman Returns, and Titanic were three of those, with Magnolia and the beloved television series Friday Night Lights there too, of course. 

Dolan spoke about appreciating the Michelle Pfieffer’s performance in Batman as completely free and totally going for her character. He also went on to say he admired Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia for its sense of freedom as well, fully commiting to its absurd and wild nature—especially the scene of Julianne Moore in the drug store telling off Pat Healy because of how emotionally unfettered it is and how PTA allowed a character to be so raw and honest—a scene which Dolan says he stole in I Killed my Mother and Laurence Anyways (in a monologue which Suzanne Clement defends herself and Laurence, screaming at a older diner waitress, a moment so wonderful and powerful that when she finished speaking the entire audience erupted in applause when it screened this past Sunday). 

Friday Night Lights Dolan says he watched with Clement recently over a holiday break "all at once, while eating a lot." He admired how authentic and real the emotion and acting was, as if it wasn’t something to impress but to show you exactly what life is life. 

He also spoke about his follow-up to Laurence Anyways, Tom à la ferme, a "psychological thriller that is worrying and scary–I hope." Although we had assumed it would be, it turns out the film will not premiere at Cannes this year and is currently in the sound-mixing, color-timing stages. However, his follow-up to that, his fifith film and first American feature, he says is to be titled The Death and Life of John F. Donovan and tells the story of a "Dean or Brando"-esque moviestar whom "America has been waiting for," who becomes penpals with an 11-year-old boy. Dolan went on to say that the film follows what happens when the correspondence with the boy is exposed. He will be acting in he film as well but not as the titular character.

But for now, Laurence Anyways will be crawling into theaters this June and if you’ve loved his work in the past this is sure to knock you over. And if you’re unfamiliar with the young auteur’s ouevre, get ready to fall in love.

Am I Really Going To Have To See ‘Skyfall’ Now?

I like James Bond. I really do. I don’t, however, cotton to this trend in modern cinema in which Very Serious Directors reboot classic movie franchises, strip away everything that makes then fun and endearing (read: the silliness and the camp and the sex), and then make them long, boring epics with Very Important Actors and scores usually provided by Hans Zimmer and a slew of vuvuzelas. Christopher Nolan made me excited for the prospect that there might never be another Batman movie, and that new Superman movie for which the trailer was too long and only featured Clark Kent, like, driving around a field? (Yeah, that seems FUN.) So I don’t really care that the guy who directed American Beauty (which, in retrospect, everyone should know is a piece of shit) is in charge of this new one. 

But apparently people are enjoying it! All of my friends are tweeting stuff like, "I don’t even like James Bond but I liked Skyfall." Which, you know, is a pretty good indication that I will not like it. Why make a genre film for people who are not fans of the genre? Because doesn’t that make it not a genre film, and just an action movie with a character whose name recognition can carry a lot of advertisers and convince people that making more bloggy lists called "The Best Bond Theme Songs" and "The Ugliest James Bond Girls" is a really good idea? Can’t we, like, either do something NEW or just make it the same as it was before? Is that too hard to ask?

Because, look. Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig’s James Bond is a dour figured compared the groovy (and, let’s face it, funny and personable) guy that Roger Moore and Sean Connery portrayed. Even Pierce Brosnan’s Bond was someone you’d want to hang out with! But nooo, we’ve got to go with the dark and gritty and, honestly? The boring. I can nap at home for free with Adele’s theme song playing on a loop on iTunes. That’s, I must admit, seems a lot more exciting to me.

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

David Cronenberg Hates Batman

Cosmopolis, David Cronenberg’s adaptation of the Don DeLillo novel, opens today following weeks of a post-cheating scandal media blitz that has blown up in its leading actor (and BlackBook cover boy) Robert Pattinson’s face. He’s hurting! He’s confused! People are forcing him to eat on camera! And everyone forgot about poor David Cronenberg, the beloved director behind cult hits like Scanners, Dead Ringers, Videodrome (and also the unfortunate A Dangerous Method, but we’ll let that one slide). What’s a critically acclaimed director to do in order to get people to pay attention to him? Well, bash Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, of course.

In an interview with Next Movie, Cronenberg is pretty frank when it comes to his feelings about the artistic merit of superhero movies, in which he finds absolutely nothing to gush over:

David, you’ve done drama and horror. Some fairly formidable directors have branched out into superhero movies pretty beautifully —is that something you would consider doing?
DC: I don’t think they are making them an elevated art form. I think it’s still Batman running around in a stupid cape. I just don’t think it’s elevated. Christopher Nolan’s best movie is Memento, and that is an interesting movie. I don’t think his Batman movies are half as interesting though they’re 20 million times the expense. What he is doing is some very interesting technical stuff, which, you know, he’s shooting IMAX and in 3-D. That’s really tricky and difficult to do. I read about it in American Cinematography Magazine, and technically, that’s all very interesting. The movie, to me, they’re mostly boring.

Do you think the subject matter prohibits the elevated art form?
DC: Absolutely. Anybody who works in the studio system has got 20 studio people sitting on his head at every moment, and they have no respect, and there’s no…it doesn’t matter how successful you’ve been. And obviously Nolan has been very successful. He’s got a lot of power, relatively speaking. But he doesn’t really have power.

So that’s a no.
DC: I would say that’s a no, you know. And the problem is you gotta… as I say, you can do some interesting, maybe unexpected things. And certainly, I’ve made the horror films and people say, "Can you make a horror film also an art film?" And I would say, "Yeah, I think you can."

But a superhero movie, by definition, you know, it’s comic book. It’s for kids. It’s adolescent in its core. That has always been its appeal, and I think people who are saying, you know, Dark Knight Rises is, you know, supreme cinema art, I don’t think they know what the fuck they’re talking about.

Well, now my dreams of watching The Riddler’s head explode in David Cronenberg’s Batman’s Back have been DASHED AGAINST THE ROCKS. Friday mornings, man. What a bummer. 

Facebook Campaign Urges Christian Bale To Visit Aurora Victims Dressed As Batman

There’s a Facebook campaign afoot to do something positive in the wake of Friday’s Dark Knight Rises massacre which left 12 people dead and nearly 60 injured: a user is asking Christian Bale to don his Batman costume and visit injured children hospitalized after the Aurora, Colorado shooting.

The campaign, which seems to have originated from the account of user Jonathan Jared Adams, reads:

Hey Facebook, I have an idea … All those kids in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds at the Batman massacre could use a visit from their hero. I propose we (as in all of Facebook) should make enough noise asking Christian Bale to visit these kids in the hospital dressed in the real Batman outfit. They need to know heroes can be real, too, not just the bad guys.  Not asking anything fancy from you, if you read this, share it on your wall. If you want to go the extra mile, post it in other sites as well. Show the kids there really are heroes.

"Dear Christian Bale, please visit the injured children from the movie massacre as Batman. You have the power to be a hero right now —not a movie hero, a real flesh and blood one. Sincerely, Everyone"

As of 2:45p.m. EST, the post only had 782 shares but over 1,500 "likes" on Facebook. It’s a sweet sentiment, of course. But it’s somewhat presumptuous to assume that children injured by Friday’s shooting would even want a visit from Batman. I should think some, in fact, might be scared by it. It would be kind of Bale to offer a visit, at least. I, like other people, hope that all of the Dark Knight stars will find an appropriate way to mourn the victims and support their families and friends.

I suppose if Facebook really does work as a democracy, this Christian Bale campaign turn out to be the way. 

I’ll Fly Away: Batman Trots Limply Off Into the Sunset

Give director Christopher Nolan some credit for refusing to settle with The Dark Knight Rises: while things are just as gritty and dour in old Gotham town this time around, they can in no way said to be realistic. And that’s not just in reference to the fact that Christian Bale’s Batman is hovering around in an impossibly space age aircraft for a good portion of every action sequence or that he’s seemed to pick up some heretofore unseen metahuman (if you’ll excuse the DC Comics house style, even if Nolan won’t) healing powers. No, the city is plunged into a bombastic, vaguely philosophical kind of anarchy for half the movie, like Lord of the Flies or Jose Saramago’s Blindness on a summer popcorn flick scale.

Tapping into a nascent at the time of shooting fervor over the Occupy Wall Street movement, Nolan gives us plenty of deliciously salacious shots of stock exchanges run amok, blue bloods being ripped from under their armoires and tossed from their stodgy Park Avenue buildings (won’t someone think of the doormen?), and cartoonish show trials that harken in an important way back to a great Batman: The Animated Series episode.

And considering that, since Batman Begins, Nolan and writer David S. Goyer have been chief among the crusade to take classic nerd fare and make it pedantically legitimate to middlebrow tastes, you’d be forgiven for lumping it in with an earlier blockbuster of the, like Christmas, ever expanding blockbuster season, Prometheus, and shunning it for its tendency to ask the tough questions before leaving them dangling in the air. Sure, it wants the credit of gravitas without doing any of the heavy lifting (the director has been quoted as hoping “the three films together will make it so they have a real span to them, some real heft”), but in this case that doesn’t seem fairly the point. The point is that it looks awesome when Batman carves a gigantic Bat-signal made of fire into a bridge – because Batman is a symbol, you see – and that it’s totally fun to have him lead a charge of angry civil servants against a horde of vague anarchists and hardened convicts. Like Braveheart for Bat-fans, you can think if you like but it’s really not necessary.

And some of the ridiculousness is fun! Anne Hathaway’s turn as Catwoman is not exactly revelatory, but from the moment she reveals her true colors to an inexplicably hobbled Bruce Wayne and the soundtrack splurts out a campy trickle of piano before she flits her way out a window in a shot that is basically all stockinged leg, it’s clear she’s just the vamp Nolan has been reluctant to allow in his grim storybook of constant vengeance.

Unfortunately, even here some of the old man’s sad ticks come into play. No one expected her to measure up to Michelle Pfeiffer’s exhilarating and pitch-perfect take on Selina Kyle from 1992’s Batman Returns; mere competence would surely suffice. But it’s sad that there’s a mirror to one of the earlier film’s great meditations on the nature of Batman and Catwoman’s relationship, wherein Bruce is absentmindedly defending Batman ("He saved thousands in property damage alone!") and talking straight past Selina while Selina absentmindedly tries to come to grips with Catwoman and talks straight past Bruce, but it’s a dark one. Here, Hathaway’s Selina spouts 99 percent rhetoric as written by Ayn Rand while Bruce stares into her eyes and condescends to her, recalling Adam West’s Batman talking Burt Ward’s Robin through puberty. Soon after Catwoman and Batman meet, he dictates to her his rules against guns and killing (which he will blatantly break later on) by kicking a gun out of her hand and growling. Even when the most dynamic character in the movie is a woman who can break your spine with her bare hands, the ladies still have to listen to the men in Chris Nolan’s world.

Others from his bag of tricks play out similarly. Given the murky political bent of the movie, it’s a godsend most of the philosophically expository soliloquies have been pared down, but one gets the feeling that’s more due to a weariness not unlike the aged Dark Knight’s than a credit to design. Nolan’s penchant for flashbacks, endless circles of catch phrases collapsing in on themselves (makes one wonder if his Momento was autobiography), and thud-subtle visual imagery (you’d better believe that the Dark Knight really does rise in this movie! On multiple occasions! In various ways! With a special chanting soundtrack, even!) are all here in force. Taken star Liam Neeson’s Star Wars-style ghost cameos are not just limited to Star Wars anymore. There are even flashbacks to the previous two films. (Pity they couldn’t get that Ledger fellow back.)

Nolan has always been given a wide berth by the fanboy community that wants to be taken seriously while also spending $1,500 on playtime dress-up Batsuits, and again there are problems with characterization that would send any other director to the stake. Tom Hardy’s mumblecore, caucasian Bane has been played up as a serious interpretation of the character, of course, but in the end he’s every bit the bumbling henchman of the maligned Batman & Robin interpretation. At least if he’d just droned his own name for three hours we’d have been able to understand him. Even more, when we learn he’s an admixture of Bane and Talia al Ghul’s protector/servant Ubu in the big reveal that everyone in the know saw coming from the day Marion Cotillard was cast, it plays out almost exactly like a forgotten Pierce Brosnan 007 flick, The World Is Not Enough. Bale’s face is even bloated into a similar rictus of torture at the hands of the similarly sadistic femme fatale.

But none of this matters so much as the underlying problem with Nolan’s Batman. In every other piece of Bat-lore, when the going gets tough he lightens up. Recruits a Robin. Gets officially deputized by the police. Starts walking around in broad daylight talking, in third person, about how he “digs this day!” He joins the Justice League and leads them to victory, all the while sassing Superman.

Here, though, it’s a case of endlessly arrested development. In Nolan’s narcissistic and nihilistic fever dream, Batman actually lies so as to continue to be chased by the cops. He locks himself in his room for eight years because he’s sad about the death of a woman he claims to have loved but whom he more correctly childishly idealized. He makes poor Alfred blubber like a baby for some parlor trick he convinces himself is righteous (someone give Michael Caine a hug, and thank the lord Michael Gough and Alan Napier aren’t alive to see this). Not only does Nolan not let Batman grow up, but he seeks to convince us that the Dark Knight’s most heroic act is to give up.

Nick Cave may denounce his Batman Forever soundtrack contribution as a shameless money grab, but it works to point out what’s wrong here, because this isn’t the kind of hero the kids standing around looking to the sky, daddio, need right now. Or the one they deserve. Whatever it is that The Dark Knight clincher was supposed to mean.

If You Spoil ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ For Me, I Will Kill You

Hey guys. As you know, The Dark Knight Rises opens on Friday. Well, technically, on Thursday at midnight. Are you one of those dumb-dumbs paying lots of money for midnight screening tickets? First of all, get out of my face. Second of all, if I wake up on Friday morning to a bunch of blog posts about this stupid movie in which all of them spoil it for me, I will find you and kill you. 

Look, I don’t even want to see this movie, OK? Real talk. But I have to, obviously, so that I have something to talk about for the rest of the summer because everyone has a freaking boner over Christopher Nolan’s adolescent obsession with Christian Bale in a tight leather suit. It’s not really my thing, but, you know, I’ve got to wait a few more months before Anne Hathaway sings "I Dreamed a Dream" in the Les Miz movie, which is the only Anne Hathaway movie I care about this year. (Guess what, guys? She dies in the first half. SORRY. SPOILER!) And I have a feeling that none of you are going to want to talk about Jean Valjean with me, but I’m going to have to be expected to KEEP UP WITH YOU and have some understanding of who the hell Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays in this Batman flick. Fine. Whatever.

While we’re on the subject, can I mention how this Batman series has bored the hell out of me? Maybe because I like fun, and I’d rather see Arnold Schwarzenegger in a bright blue costume in Batman and Robin and Everyone We Know than Tom Hardy playing whatever unintelligible villain in this movie. I mean, none of the trailers have excited me, even if having a stadium blow up would be the only way for anyone to get me to watch football. And, seriously, there is nothing fun about anything paired with a Hans Zimmer score. Truthbomb!

But let’s get back to the real issue: if you spoil this movie for me, I will kill you. I will kill you like Michael Keaton killed Jack Nicholson and Danny DeVito. I will kill you like Christopher Walken killed Michelle Pfieffer, only you won’t come back as Catwoman. I will kill you like Joel Schumacher killed the concept of subtlety. I will kill you like Javert kills himself. (Les Miz ref. Keep up, nerds.) I’m talking to you, A.O. Scott. I’m talking to you, Peter Travers. I’m talking to you, DarkKnightFan69. Because I’m planning to wait three weeks so I can get drunk and see it alone on a Sunday afternoon like a normal human being. And yes, I expect you to keep a tight fuckin’ lip until then, got it? 

‘The Dark Knight Rises’ Featurette Is 13 Minutes Of Batman-ly Goodness

The Dark Knight Rises is the movie you can’t avoid this summer and if you’re like millions of fans, you probably won’t want to, anyway. So make sure you don’t miss this new 13-minute long featurette with the cast and crew’s behind-the-scenes commentary. Watch it after the jump.

Director Christopher Nolan, actors Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Anne Hathaway (Selina Kyle/Catwoman), Tom  Hardy (Bane), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (John Blake), Michael Caine (Alfred), Gary Oldman (Commissioner Gordon) and various producers all share their thoughts in the above featurette — which, if it does nothing else, will give you nightmares about that creepy mask over Tom Hardy’s face. And of course, it will make covet Anne Hathaway’s red lipstick and body in that skintight cat unitard.

 

 

Consider our interest piqued. Even if we can’t officially sign off on the wisdom of Christian Bale’s current facial hair.

Now’s Your Chance to Own a House With a Batman Pool

We suppose in the age of recession-proofing and 99-percentage-ing, having such a ridiculous backyard accent is a bit gauche. But, because the brokest among us still sometimes hungrily surf This Is Why I’m Broke, and because some of us still secretly wish we were Bruce Wayne in our everyday lives instead of awkward, nerdy Clark Kent, let’s look at the house with the Batman pool.

Back in 2010, the Chicago Tribune posted a photo of an English-style mansion in Hinsdale, a suburb of Chicago, is up for sale, where satellite imagery uncovered a massive Batman logo painted on their swimming pool. Today, they reported, it can all be yours. And it’ll take a Bruce Wayne salary to make it happen, clearly, as the house is up for about $2.7 million. Not to be outdone, your neighbors will have a series of backyard trapeze apparati to help them recreate the upside-down kiss scene from Spider-Man every time it rains.