Author Topic: Joker  (Read 586 times)

FLYmeatwad

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Joker
« on: October 05, 2019, 03:58:43 PM »
Am I the only one crazed enough to go see this sucker? Definitely peak Frat Boy Cinema, and, as such, I loved that aspect because it's all the best and worst parts of #FBC in one film. My theater seemed pretty divided on reactions coming out, which surprised me since I didn't think TP had it in him to make anything besides the most generic shit. But, you know what? I didn't completely hate War Dogs either, though think that was more because of the lead actors since the film itself wasn't that great. Guess that's the case here too, and damn if the score isn't a CINECAST!ing chore. Still, JP is a god, and the reveal at the end of it theoretically all just being a story that Arthur/Joker tells, without probably sacrificing the character work beforehand, is also the most ridiculous play to #FBC that could have been made. I need to start #FBC: The Podcast just to get to this at some point, because it's all there. The male rage, the Big Ideas that can so easily be interpreted incorrectly by the audience or the film itself, the hyperviolence, the silly mind CINECAST! reveals.

Wonder if JP sticks around for the new Batmen. Were it FLY, he'd allow R Pats to do his thang in the first one, tease JP at the end or a post-credits stinger ala BB (fitting in with TP's worship of #FBC idols without really 'getting it'), and then let that second one be their first encounter. But guess they maybe just toss him in that Batman since Joker seems to have at least started off with a bang in terms of how much money it pulled in, I suppose.

Also, might just be FLY, but you take this thing out of the 70's/80's/90's and put it in a modern context, I think that stand up routine could definitely work in the anti-comedy movement, and seems more appealing to me than actual stand up, which is largely the worst.

Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Joker
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2019, 04:18:55 PM »
It has been a long time since I have walked out of a movie wondering what was real and what was in the characters head. The last time would be Total Recall.

During the movie we already had evidence that things we were shown had not happened (his 'girlfriend'), and things that are suspect (the first time he is on the talk show where he is an audience member), and the end scene suggests what we have just seen was Joker telling the woman a story, which given this is the Joker makes this all suspect.

Teproc

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Re: Joker
« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2019, 05:25:56 PM »
That aspect was probably the most infuriating thing of all to me. Everything may or may not be real, but why should I care ?
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Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Joker
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2019, 05:04:30 AM »
I find it a wonderful thing as it gives me reason to wonder, what was unreliable narrator and what was real. I can understand that it can be frustrating, but I enjoy the doubt. Why should you care... the story has been interesting, the story has been disturbing, the story has neatly woven into the main points of the various batman universes, the story has been a little meta (De Niro as the talk show host), the story continues the fogginess of the Jokers origin.

Teproc

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Re: Joker
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2019, 05:09:57 AM »
I think the difference is I find the character work on Phoenix's Joker to be so inconsistent and evasive that it feels more like an out to justify bad writing than a reason to wonder. It all comes down to "but he's crazy" in the end. His cold-blooded murder of the third guy in the metro isn't the act of someone who's fed up with society putting him down or income/social inequality ("I'm apolitical"), it's the act of a psychopath off his meds, and I think the message that sends re: mental health is pretty despicable. Or is it, because it might not be real ? It's irresponsible is what it is.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 05:12:12 AM by Teproc »
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Dave the Necrobumper

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Re: Joker
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2019, 07:50:05 AM »
I read an opinion piece (found here) today by a psychiatrist and it has a different view of the depiction of mental illness.

An early quote from the article
Quote
The film poses an important question vocalised in no uncertain terms by the Joker at its climax. "What do you get when you cross a mentally ill loner with a society that abandons him and treats him like trash? ... You get what you f---iní deserve," he proclaims as he murders the talk show host before him.

Although this response and the violence in the scene are vicious, it is a stark metaphor for the disastrous consequences that can arise if we do not give mental illness the importance it deserves.

The whole piece is worth a read.

As for the inconsistent and evasive character work, that is the Joker. Heath Ledgers Joker was the same, there was no consistent origin story he told, when pressed he turns things around and makes it about the person pressing him. It is the character's inconsistency and evasiveness that makes him so hard to pin down, and so hard to stop. He is a slippery eel. Even when his plans fail he moves on, it does not appear to affect him, because there is alway more chaos to engender.

Teproc

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Re: Joker
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2019, 08:30:12 AM »
Ledger's Joker is chaos personified. I don't see that at all in Phoenix's Joker. He doesn't have the nihilistic ideology that Ledger had, his ideology is basically "woe is me". He's also the protagonist, in what is clearly a drama: his psychology is the movie, and therefore it should make some amount of sense. Consistent might not be the right word, maybe coherent is better, in terms of the writing I mean: I get that the character is unstable and therefore inconsistent. But I just don't believe in him as a character, mainly because of the writing, but maybe something is missing in Phoenix's performance as well.

I'll read that piece when I get the time, but if the point is "a mentally ill person off his meds = a dangerous killer", I don't think that's a good message to send, no. Again, the cold-blooded nature of the murder (the third guy) suggests that this is not him losing control: it's him becoming what he always was: a killer. It's deterministic. I'm guessing the psychiatrist's pov is more complex than that... I just don't believe that the movie's is.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2019, 08:38:27 AM by Teproc »
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Beavermoose

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Re: Joker
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2019, 10:45:09 PM »
Although there is a vague association about the cause of his mental illness being related to his mother and her messed up relationship with Thomas Wayne, I wish that there has been a stronger connection between the dismissive and exploitative nature of the upper class and it's effects on the people struggling to survive. If they had removed all mention of his mental illness it would have made his descent into madness more explicitly a product of his position in society.

This is like the arguments about gun control saying that the cause of mass shootings are entirely based on the shooters having mental illness while dismissing external factors like isolation, poverty, lack of education, and other elements caused by societal injustices.

Will

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Re: Joker
« Reply #8 on: February 19, 2020, 12:45:01 AM »
What angers me most about this film is that it reduces the struggle of the poor or the disabled to a culture war. The target isn't big business or the government, but a late night television show host. In the ensuing chaos, both big business and the government are affected, but only indirectly, suggesting that Fleck's brand of rebellion truly has no underlying justification as he suggests in his interview. Say what you want about the tiring overuse of Ledger's Joker inspired "we live in a society" memes, but his whole endeavor is based around the idea that humanity, deep down, doesn't hold any kind of human values nor is it afraid to embrace nihilism. The path that Phillips follows instead is that of one man's journey through a comical level of contrived trauma to bully its audience into embracing the violent "catharsis" at the end. But who is Murray Franklin? Why should I care about the Murray Franklins of the world? His life didn't (and the lives of the various Murray Franklins we see in our world) actually contribute a whole to culture nor do their deaths actually influence politics both local and worldwide. Phillips strains to craft a tragedy around Arthur's life, but his mental disability and his low financial status robs him of the agency that is necessary for one small (but very relatable) flaw to get us to sympathize with or understand him.

I cannot bring myself to hate this movie if only for the scene between him and the therapist. Not since the BLACK PANTHER "Bury me" line has there been a piece of dialogue that hit me so hard as "They don't give a shit about people like you, Arthur. And they really don't give a shit about people like me either." Perhaps the social worker reached that level of awareness before that moment, but I like to think she had an epiphany right then, right there. She deserves her own movie. I like to believe someone out there was inspired by that line to write their own version of JOKER, but with the social worker as the main character. Could you imagine? A movie about a therapist who realizes that they will not be able to save anyone and everyone is slipping faster into their own personal hells due to an apathetic government and a collapsing economy. Driven to madness by their patients, they lash out against the uncaring void in a series of violent acts against the powers that be. With a single line, she became the most interesting character in the entire film and one of the most interesting characters in all of 2019 cinema.

Unfortunately, it was also her last line and her last scene. This movie isn't about her. This movie isn't about retributive justice. This movie is about the Joker, first and foremost. He is a villainous figure whose biggest flaw is perceiving the damaging remarks about his social class as affronts to his ego, not his to his identity, as most men do. If poor or mentally disabled men were to truly understand that the powers that be aren't targeting them to humiliate but to destroy them, the US government would have medicare for all today. Instead, so much of modern politics is about men engaging in the aesthetics of battle only to achieve the aesthetic of an award for that battle. It occurs in sport. It occurs in superhero movies. It now occurs in these alternative superhero spinoff movies. What made BLACK PANTHER so revelatory wasn't just the "Bury me" line but the sympathetic reaction on T'Challa's face when he heard it. There was never an ounce of empty posturing in Eric's quest for world domination. There was never a wasted moment in his plan to bring chaos to Wakanda. I struggle over whether he was ultimately right, even though his theoretical conquest would bring another genocide. Even though JOKER doesn't have global aims, the fact that it is intimate allowed Phillips even closer to the everyday white proletariat or white lumpenproletariat. The unfortunate truth is that white people, especially white Americans, need to be continually confronted by class issues if they are ever to achieve class consciousness. This movie comes close. So close. Yet at the end, it is still a movie about how one entertainer justifies violence against another entertainer for his "culture" not being appreciated as much as the dominant one.