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Home » Culture and Criticism

Batkid Begins: Doing The Wave

Submitted by on January 22, 2016 – 8:20 AM2 Comments
New Line

New Line

I think perhaps Netflix should consider bundling DVDs of Kurt Kuenne projects with those purse packs of Kleenex.

Yes, it adds a nominal amount to the cost of shipping, but consumers will be so grateful. Kuenne, in case it's slipped your mind, is the director of Dear Zachary, the winner of our Cinemarch Madness film tourney here on TN and still the most beautiful, horrible documentary I've seen. Batkid Begins is a more straight-ahead manipulation: five-year-old cancer survivor Miles loves Batman, and wants to become him for a day as his Make-a-Wish prize. When word gets out about the project, dozens of grown-ups in the film arts, followed by millions of people on the internet, pull together to turn San Francisco into Gotham City, and Miles's dream into a reality.

The official site calls the day of Miles's Bat-venture "the day the internet was nice," a PR fortune-cookie assertion I'm naturally going to have to object to; maybe it's just because I've learned after almost two decades on the internet not to go into certain comments threads (read: "any except these"), but what happened for Miles that day in 2013 is not the first time the internet has pulled together for a kid or kids. It's happened a dozen times just at Tomato Nation. But the flip side of that coin is that delirious, churning-acid feeling when a project of that scale takes off — when the big RT you needed actually happens and the next thing you know you have to do a dance in a tomato costume in Rockefeller Plaza. You feel proud, but you also feel dread — amplified by the fact that it's on behalf of a child/children — that you can't pull it off, and beyond the feel-good elements of the central story, I liked how it captured the riptide quickness with which you can start to feel overtaken by this brand of communally visceral enthusiasm.

It's a fine little flick, not terribly ambitious and moves right along, and for those of us who've ever planned an AIDS Walk or fun cycle or winter market, or any other sort of charity event, and felt overwhelmed in all the best ways that made us raise our games, Batkid Begins sees us.

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