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: 80266%
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: Fast-paced thriller, based on the John Grisham bestseller, about a boy whose life is endangered after he stumbles across vital... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#2

Tigerland (2000)
77%

#2
Adjusted Score: 77083%
Critics Consensus: A great cast and the gritty feel of the film help elevate Tigerland above the familiarity of the subject matter.
Synopsis: 1971. A nation stands divided over the escalating war in Vietnam. Thousands of young Americans lie dead on foreign soil.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#3

The Lost Boys (1987)
77%

#3
Adjusted Score: 81616%
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: Teenage brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim) move with their mother (Dianne Wiest) to a small town in... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#4

Falling Down (1993)
73%

#4
Adjusted Score: 77904%
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: A middle-aged man dealing with both unemployment and divorce, William Foster (Michael Douglas) is having a bad day. When his... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#5

Phone Booth (2002)
72%

#5
Adjusted Score: 77520%
Critics Consensus: Quick pacing and Farrell's performance help make Phone Booth a tense nail-biter.
Synopsis: A phone call can change your life, but for one man it can also end it. Set entirely within and... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#6

A Time to Kill (1996)
68%

#6
Adjusted Score: 70248%
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 (Samuel L. Jackson) is a heartbroken black father who avenges his daughter's brutal rape by shooting the... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#7

Veronica Guerin (2003)
53%

#7
Adjusted Score: 57448%
Critics Consensus: Cate Blanchett gives another great performance in a movie that doesn't shed much light on its title character.
Synopsis: In this true story, Veronica Guerin (Cate Blanchett) is an investigative reporter for an Irish newspaper. As the drug trade... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#8

Cousins (1989)
50%

#8
Adjusted Score: 38807%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In this American remake of the popular French romantic comedy "Cousin Cousine," Larry (Ted Danson) and Maria (Isabella Rossellini) meet... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#9

Flatliners (1990)
48%

#9
Adjusted Score: 50435%
Critics Consensus: While it boasts an impressive cast, striking visuals, and an effective mood, Flatliners never quite jolts its story to life.
Synopsis: Seeking answers about the afterlife, Chicago medical student Nelson (Kiefer Sutherland) persuades his fellow pupils to help him end his... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#10

St. Elmo's Fire (1985)
43%

#10
Adjusted Score: 46288%
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: A group of recent college graduates embark on a series of misadventures in the real world. There's Kirby (Emilio Estevez),... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#11

Flawless (1999)
41%

#11
Adjusted Score: 42879%
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: A former security guard, Walt Koontz (Robert De Niro), experiences a severe stroke, and must begin physical therapy after leaving... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#12

Town Creek (2009)
43%

#12
Adjusted Score: 12480%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Two brothers become entangled in a sinister Nazi's occult experiment at an American farmhouse.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#13

Batman Forever (1995)
38%

#13
Adjusted Score: 42282%
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: Batman (Val Kilmer) faces off against two foes: the schizophrenic, horribly scarred former District Attorney Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face (Tommy... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#14
#14
Adjusted Score: 38461%
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: From his hideout beneath a 19th century Paris opera house, the brooding Phantom (Gerard Butler) schemes to get closer to... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#15

Dying Young (1991)
23%

#15
Adjusted Score: 25664%
Critics Consensus: Dying's easy; it's making audiences care about the romance at the heart of this inert drama that proves difficult.
Synopsis: Answering an ad for an "attractive female" to care for a sick young man, Hilary (Julia Roberts) becomes the caretaker... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#16
Adjusted Score: 19120%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Pat Kramer (Lily Tomlin) leads the typical "American Dream" lifestyle, with husband Vance (Charles Grodin) making the money while she... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#17

8MM (1999)
23%

#17
Adjusted Score: 25666%
Critics Consensus: Its sadistic violence is unappealing and is lacking in suspense and mystery.
Synopsis: Private detective Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) lives a normal life with his wife (Catherine Keener) and young daughter, until he... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#18

D.C. Cab (1983)
22%

#18
Adjusted Score: 22004%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Aspiring taxi driver Albert Hockenberry (Adam Baldwin) arrives in Washington, D.C., to work for a service run by family friend... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#19

Batman & Robin (1997)
12%

#19
Adjusted Score: 16983%
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: This superhero adventure finds Batman (George Clooney) and his partner, Robin (Chris O'Donnell), attempting to the foil the sinister schemes... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#20

Bad Company (2002)
10%

#20
Adjusted Score: 14121%
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: CIA operative Kevin Pope (Chris Rock) is suave, brilliant and right on the verge of completing a top secret mission... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#21

Trespass (2011)
11%

#21
Adjusted Score: 12270%
Critics Consensus: Another claustrophobic thriller that Joel Schumacher can churn out in his sleep, Trespass is nasty and aggressive, more unpleasant than entertaining.
Synopsis: Fast-talking diamond dealer Kyle Miller (Nicolas Cage) and his wife, Sarah (Nicole Kidman), live the good life in a beautiful... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#22

The Number 23 (2007)
8%

#22
Adjusted Score: 15091%
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 man's (Jim Carrey) discovery of an obscure book about the number 23 leads him on a descent into darkness.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

#23

Twelve (2010)
3%

#23
Adjusted Score: 3274%
Critics Consensus: As pretentious as it is hopelessly clichéd, this Twelve is closer to zero.
Synopsis: A high-school dropout (Chace Crawford) sells drugs to his wealthy former classmates.... [More]
Directed By: Joel Schumacher

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