Joel Schmacher

(Photo by Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection.)

All Joel Schumacher Movies, Ranked by Tomatometer

Your typical journeyman director deep in the studio system will make movies across plenty of genres, on-time and under-budget, foster some lasting professional relationships, and never make a name for themselves beyond to the most ardent, specific film buffs. Yes, Joel Schumacher worked across multiple genres without a thematic throughline, with studios and actors quick to praise his behind-the-scenes professionalism, but the director also brought enough verve and dynamic color to his films that Schumacher’s name, at his creative peak, did become a kind of brand. A calling card of big Hollywood entertainment with style to separate from the rest. This began in earnest in 1987 with the Brat Pack-adjacent The Lost Boys, the stylish horror/comedy that pulled vampires out of cliff-nested castles and into teen parties and suburbia, a popular concept still seen in the likes of True Blood and Twilight. Having made Kiefer Sutherland a star, Schumacher worked with him again on his next film, Flatliners.

Schumacher entered his most commercially viable period in the ’90s, starting with 1993’s Falling Down, starring Michael Douglas on a particularly bad Los Angeles day, in a film that has been latched onto as a manifesto of urban rage still discussed and referenced now. Schumacher took the reins for 1995’s Batman Forever after Tim Burton and Michael Keaton left the blockbuster franchise. Some inspired casting (Val Kilmer as Bruce Wayne, Jim Carrey as The Riddler, and Tommy Lee Jones as Two-Face), plenty of wild art direction, a brash soundtrack, and just a touch of camp turned the movie into pop-culture phenomenon. A year later, Schumacher released A Time To Kill at a time when anything Grisham, Crichton, and Clancy was being adapted and making a mint at the box office. (Schumacher had previously turned Grisham’s The Client into a movie.)

Then came the disastrous Batman & Robin, which killed the franchise for nearly a decade. Schumacher took full ownership for the movie’s failure, claiming that he had steered too far towards what marketing and merchandising wanted out of a Batman joint. A public bomb of this proportion could’ve been a career-ender, but his workmanship and a steady line of stars willing to collaborate time and again meant the next Schumacher film was never far off. He worked twice with Colin Farrell, first in 2000’s Tigerland, which introduced the actor to American audiences, and then in 2003’s Phone Booth, which made Farrell a star. Sutherland, back in the saddle, played the villain. Schumacher can be credited with helping launch Gerard Butler’s career in full, when he cast him as lead in 2005’s The Phantom of the Opera. In 2007, Schumacher worked again with Carrey for psychological thriller The Number 23. His final film was 2011’s Trespass, reuniting him with 8MM‘s Nicolas Cage and Batman Forever‘s Nicole Kidman.

We celebrate his life and career with our guide to every Joel Schumacher film, by Tomatometer.

#1

The Client (1994)
78%

#1
Adjusted Score: 79.748%
Critics Consensus: The Client may not reinvent the tenets of the legal drama, but Joel Schumacher's sturdy directorial hand and a high-caliber cast bring John Grisham's page-turner to life with engrossing suspense.
Synopsis: A sterling cast headed by Oscar-nominated Susan Sarandon makes this slick thriller one of the better adaptations of a John... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#2

Tigerland (2000)
77%

#2
Adjusted Score: 77.965%
Critics Consensus: A great cast and the gritty feel of the film help elevate Tigerland above the familiarity of the subject matter.
Synopsis: A young man tries to fight the military system only to find it fighting back in unexpected ways in this... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#3

The Lost Boys (1987)
76%

#3
Adjusted Score: 81.301%
Critics Consensus: Flawed but eminently watchable, Joel Schumacher's teen vampire thriller blends horror, humor, and plenty of visual style with standout performances from a cast full of young 1980s stars.
Synopsis: In this hit '80s hybrid of the horror movie and the teen flick, a single mom and her two sons... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#4

Falling Down (1993)
73%

#4
Adjusted Score: 77.123%
Critics Consensus: Falling Down's popcorn-friendly take on its complex themes proves disquieting -- and ultimately fitting for a bleakly entertaining picture of one man's angry break with reality.
Synopsis: It's just not William Foster's (Michael Douglas) day. Laid off from his defense job, Foster gets stuck in the middle... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#5

Phone Booth (2003)
72%

#5
Adjusted Score: 77.306%
Critics Consensus: Quick pacing and Farrell's performance help make Phone Booth a tense nail-biter.
Synopsis: One man's life is thrown into turmoil by picking up a telephone in this claustrophobic thriller. Stu Shepard (Colin Farrell)... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#6

A Time to Kill (1996)
67%

#6
Adjusted Score: 69.636%
Critics Consensus: Overlong and superficial, A Time to Kill nonetheless succeeds on the strength of its skillful craftsmanship and top-notch performances.
Synopsis: Carl Lee Hailey takes the law into his own hands after the legal system fails to adequately punish the men... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#7

Veronica Guerin (2003)
53%

#7
Adjusted Score: 56.729%
Critics Consensus: Cate Blanchett gives another great performance in a movie that doesn't shed much light on its title character.
Synopsis: Producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Joel Schumacher take on the real-life story of an assassinated Irish journalist in the dramatic... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#8

Cousins (1989)
50%

#8
Adjusted Score: 36.195%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: An Americanized remake of the popular French comedy Cousin, Cousine, this bittersweet comedy centers on the slow-brewing romance between a... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#9

Flatliners (1990)
48%

#9
Adjusted Score: 50.684%
Critics Consensus: While it boasts an impressive cast, striking visuals, and an effective mood, Flatliners never quite jolts its story to life.
Synopsis: In an attempt to discover what awaits us after death, med-school buddies Nelson Wright (Keifer Sutherland), Rachel Mannus (Julia Roberts),... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#10

St. Elmo's Fire (1985)
44%

#10
Adjusted Score: 46.608%
Critics Consensus: St. Elmo's Fire is almost peak Brat Pack: it's got the cast, the fashion, and the music, but the characters are too frequently unlikable.
Synopsis: Featuring an ensemble full of beautiful and talented young actors, this comedy drama centers an a septet of Georgetown graduates... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#11

Flawless (1999)
41%

#11
Adjusted Score: 42.771%
Critics Consensus: Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman's Flawless performances live up to this dramedy's title; unfortunately, they're outweighed by the misguided picture surrounding them.
Synopsis: Walt Koontz is a retired security guard, ultraconservative and proud of it, living in New York City's Lower East Side.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#12

Blood Creek (2009)
43%

#12
Adjusted Score: 11.055%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A man and his brother on a mission of revenge become trapped in a harrowing occult experiment dating back to... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#13

Batman Forever (1995)
39%

#13
Adjusted Score: 43.288%
Critics Consensus: Loud, excessively busy, and often boring, Batman Forever nonetheless has the charisma of Jim Carrey and Tommy Lee Jones to offer mild relief.
Synopsis: Director Joel Schumacher inherited the Batman franchise from Tim Burton and began steering it in the campier direction of the... [More]
Directed By:

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 38.573%
Critics Consensus: The music of the night has hit something of a sour note: Critics are calling the screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular musical histrionic, boring, and lacking in both romance and danger. Still, some have praised the film for its sheer spectacle.
Synopsis: Based on the hit musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the tale tells the story of a disfigured musical genius that... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#15

Dying Young (1991)
23%

#15
Adjusted Score: 25.422%
Critics Consensus: Dying's easy; it's making audiences care about the romance at the heart of this inert drama that proves difficult.
Synopsis: In Joel Schumacher's Dying Young, Julia Roberts plays Hillary O'Neil, a carefree young middle-class woman who falls in love with... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#16
Adjusted Score: 18.471%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Al ser expuesta a una extraña mezcla de sustancias químicas para limpiar la casa, una ama de casa (Lily Tomlin)... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#17

8MM (1999)
21%

#17
Adjusted Score: 24.311%
Critics Consensus: Its sadistic violence is unappealing and is lacking in suspense and mystery.
Synopsis: Tom Welles is a surveillance specialist-what used to be known as a "private eye"-but his version of the profession is... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#18

D.C. Cab (1983)
14%

#18
Adjusted Score: 10.097%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this casual, uninvolved comedy running on a low-octane script, a scruffy taxi company is about to be wiped out... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#19

Batman & Robin (1997)
11%

#19
Adjusted Score: 16.687%
Critics Consensus: Joel Schumacher's tongue-in-cheek attitude hits an unbearable limit in Batman & Robin resulting in a frantic and mindless movie that's too jokey to care much for.
Synopsis: Batman & Robin try to keep their relationship together even as they must stop Mr. Freeze and Poison Ivy from... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#20

Bad Company (2002)
10%

#20
Adjusted Score: 13.493%
Critics Consensus: Chris Rock and Anthony Hopkins fail to generate the sparks necessary to save the movie from a generic and utterly predictable script.
Synopsis: Gaylord Oakes, a veteran CIA agent must transform sarcastic, street-wise punk Jake Hayes into a sophisticated and savvy spy to... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#21

Trespass (2011)
9%

#21
Adjusted Score: 10.635%
Critics Consensus: Another claustrophobic thriller that Joel Schumacher can churn out in his sleep, Trespass is nasty and aggressive, more unpleasant than entertaining.
Synopsis: In a private, wealthy community, priority is placed on security and no exception is made for the Miller family's estate.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#22

The Number 23 (2007)
8%

#22
Adjusted Score: 14.267%
Critics Consensus: Jim Carrey has been sharp in a number of non-comedic roles, but this lurid, overheated, and self-serious potboiler is not one of them. The Number 23 is clumsy, unengaging, and mostly confusing.
Synopsis: A mysterious novel, "The Number 23," given to Walter Sparrow by his wife Agatha as a birthday gift, depicts a... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#23

Twelve (2010)
3%

#23
Adjusted Score: 3.035%
Critics Consensus: As pretentious as it is hopelessly clichéd, this Twelve is closer to zero.
Synopsis: Twelve is the story of 17-year-old White Mike, the privileged son of a restaurant tycoon. His mother succumbed to breast... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

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