Sunday, November 10, 2019

Joker

By sati (harlequinade) Sunday, November 10, 2019 , , , , , , ,
(spoilers!)

I wasn't going to write a review for this because 1. the last thing I want is insecure "men" who identify with the lead character writing nonsense in my comment section 2. this movie doesn't actually deserve my - or anyone's - words, but this is entirely too long for my letterboxd so here we go. Call me a c*nt, you ain't getting published, honey.

Joker is on the heels of making a billion dollars in the box office and while it is not as embarrassing as people giving so much money last year to Bohemian Rhapsody, willingly giving its pedophile rapist director/producer cash (this is exactly what they did if they paid to see it, they made a pedophile rapist richer), it's also pretty damn embarrassing. I noticed that it is mostly very young people who love this movie which just solidifies my belief that every generation is worse than the last. It used to be that the great, original movies influenced pop culture. Now it's recycled, boring messes like this one.
This film is truly an extraordinary accomplishment in that Todd Philips managed to make a movie that is so overstuffed yet so dull and so beautifully shot (that 3/10 rating is entirely for it) yet so deeply unpleasant to watch. It's as if a drunk monkey watched Taxi Driver and Fight Club and in between throwing feces took a shot at film-making thinking it can pull something as great as those off.

As I was watching this mess and the youths beat him up, soulless government took his treatment away and his mother (it's always the woman's fault, isn't it?) turned out to be awful, all I could think of were Brad Pitt's lines in Se7en - "Who knows. So many freaks out there doin' their little evil deeds they don't wanna do... 'The voices made me do it. My dog made me do it. Jodie Foster told me to do it.". Maybe that's why this movie earned so much money, because people out there love lazy and easy excuses for their own failures and love to project their shit on movie characters. But couldn't people find an actual good movie to project on?
There's no explanation as to why this grown ass man wanted to make a living playing a clown. If this is the career path you pursue, you make your own bed and open yourself up to ridicule. He is also a total idiot who dances around with a loaded gun in his apartment and then brings a gun to a children's hospital, keeps it on him and starts dancing and then aw, shucks! The gun falls out in front of the children. Am I supposed to be sympathizing with this guy? Half of the bad shit that happens to him is his own fault. My favorite by far was when he goes on stage to tell jokes, bombs since he has no talent and then blames everyone for ridiculing him. Oh no! He has no talent and cannot become a successful comedian! What injustice!

If THIS is the guy that audiences find relatable then I am literally afraid of leaving my house ever again.
There's also insanely clumsy way that the movie tries to tie in Arthur's violent outburst, which was naturally in self-defense (this character is Joker in name only), with growing social movement in Gotham City. He kills some dudes and apparently that is enough to inspire people for them to dress up us clowns. It would be funny how poorly written it was, except in real life this stupid movie inspired people to do the same, so instead of laughing I am straight up depressed.

Since Phillips has enough self-awareness to know there is barely any story here he throws in a ridiculous storyline involving Thomas Wayne that leads absolutely nowhere except giving us Bruce Wayne and Alfred's appearances and another rendition of the Waynes getting murdered. All of that only makes it more boring. Also if you put yourself in Thomas Wayne's shoes Arthur is lucky he didn't face worse consequences just for his interactions with Bruce and Thomas and the shit he said and did.
Then there are totally inept instances of Phillips trying to get people to sympathize with this guy. There's an atrociously written and directed moment where Arthur witnesses a bunch of men harassing a woman on the subway. But it doesn't lead to Arthur helping this woman, so all it accomplishes is portraying him to be chickenshit. Him being a coward makes no difference because he gets beaten up anyways. Had he actually helped this woman at least it would make me care about him, but he didn't, so what the fuck was that scene? But the worst offender is portraying the social worker to be always asking the same questions, implication being that she cares very little about helping Arthur etc. And when you think about it she was probably someone who gets paid very little and is exhausted, and in a lot of ways 'society' treated her just like Arthur. And at least she was in a field where she tried to help. But fuck her, right?

It's absolutely hysterical how extra this movie is. He doesn't get beaten up once but TWICE. He isn't on one medication but on SEVEN. In addition to being weird and awkward he also has CONDITION where he laughs with no control over it (that leads to an exposition dump so clumsy, I couldn't believe my own eyes). Not only is he mentally ill, poor, lonely and abandoned but he was also ABUSED as a chold. It's like male version of Precious. Then there is a predictable and lazy twist because why not, let's add DELUSIONS to the mix. There's also a moment where he gets into fridge, because, what was that exactly? And there's a fantasy sequence on a talk show that was not only a Requiem for a Dream rip-off but Phoenix's acting in it was absolutely laughable.
Throughout the movie Phoenix visibly tries so hard to be edgy and it's embarrassing to watch. It doesn't help that the script has no subtlety or trace of nuance. Adam Driver please save us from him winning an Oscar for this. Phoenix's Joker is such a miserable, dumb and flamboyant caricature that it manages to make Heath Ledger's Joker look even more amazing and brilliant. Phillips actually has the audacity to reference the famous shot of the Joker in the cop car from The Dark Knight. Jesus Christ, the nerve. Then there is the score that is basically just one sound stretched to unbearable lengths and the editing....some of the people out there gave this movie 5 out of 5 stars when it has such a hilarious goof with cigarette suddenly appearing back in his cringy dance scene. Well done.

Thank God for Robert De Niro who does good work and plays a voice of reason in this movie. Somehow this whole thing is even more putrid than latest Tarantino. There's even a moment when Arthur actually stalks his female neighbor but I guess that is OK because he is troubled, huh? May those who worship this movie and pose on those stairs fall the fuck off them.
30/100 (2019, 122 min)
Plot: In Gotham City, mentally-troubled comedian Arthur Fleck is disregarded and mistreated by society. He then embarks on a downward spiral of revolution and bloody crime. This path brings him face-to-face with his alter-ego: "The Joker".
Director: Todd Phillips
Writers: Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz

20 comments:

  1. Ayyyy you slashed this one apart. I definitely enjoyed it more than you did, but I also agree a lot with what you have to say here. The whole sympathy for the character really disturbed me...and the mass attraction to his character by audiences was weird af. HOWEVER, I did like his performance. Yes, some parts were overdone, but I still appreciated it. I think Phoenix is long overdue for an Oscar, and this might be his sympathy year, although I don't think the Academy really likes him. ALSO, I agree with you that Adam Driver deserves some recognition. He is, in fact, my bae, and his performance in Marriage Story was outstanding.

    Also, I'm trying to come back from my lost-my-job hiatus! lol. So the comments, replies are now flooding in to you! xoxoo

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    1. I mean is there really no characters out there to root for and be inspired by than this guy? Especially when a performance and character interpretation like Ledger's exists. Ledger's Joker was charismatic as hell, this guy here had no charisma whatsoever

      I don't think Phoenix is overdue for an Oscar but if Malek won for his mess last year, Pheonix is probably winning for this. His whole "I don't care about awards but I show up to collect every single one of them" shtick is so hypocritical and embarrassing. Adam Driver is a far superior actor and seems like a good dude

      Again, I'm so sorry about your job, I hope everything will work out!

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  2. I have no desire to see this, but I still really like this review. It's amazing how far people are on the spectrum of this movie. I've seen love it or hate it, but very few in between reactions. I really think Joaquin Phoenix and Todd Phillips's responses to the concerns of this movie just put me off of ever wanting to watch it.

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    1. Having seen that movie, given that these two actually put all that nonsense on the screen, I'm not surprised they appear to be quite daft in real life.

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  3. PREACH!

    Phillips was adamant in interviews that we weren't supposed to sympathize with Arthur but his "writing" told a completely different story. Everything in this movie feels derivative of something better and I rolled my eyes so hard at them trying to do the cop car shot.

    The fact that trash like this and the Beauty and the Beast remake make a billion dollars is depressing.

    I hope the Oscars forget this. The only thing I thought was worthy of any recognition was the score, but Joaquin was awful. He's done far better work.

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    1. Everything in this movie is portrayed as not his fault even when at many occasions it is precisely his fault. And it's not even Phoenix's playing him as sympathetic, because I have no idea what the hell he was doing, it's just the script and direction. Phillips is so full of shit.

      I think the cinematography was very lovely but I wouldn't nominate it for it

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  4. My rating is higher, but agree the reason for Arthur wanting to be a clown was unfortunately not properly explored. I hand out 3/10 to films so dull I can hardly finish, and Joker, while flawed, was watchable, quotable, and able to provoke discussion. Even though lacks subtlety in the script, for me, Phoenix added humanity to Joker, compared to the cartoonish/unpredictable Ledger and Nicholson performances.

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    1. This was so dull I could barely finish, actually :) The only discussion to have here is what can we do for people out there to love themselves more and not throw so much money at such garbage movies that have no entertainment or intellectual value. I found Ledger to be far more human, Phoenix was a caricature on every level and Phillips threw so much misery at him it lost any realism halfway through the movie

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    2. Yup, the misery is exaggerated :) I respect your opinion, and you make good points that Arthur is to blame for his actions. I think you missed in your review that society(easy gun availability/lack of empathy towards outsiders and mentally ill /health care cuts/dark side of talent shows) is as scary as his lunatic behavior. The structure of society is also the villain here and that is what provoked thought for me. Kind of like It(2017) is scarier for the reality than the clown.

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    3. Not really, dark side of talent shows wouldn't kill me, a weirdo who finds murder funny would. Also this isn't something that is actually accurately portrayed in the movie, it's just something that exists in the world. Easy gun availability is America's fucked up issue, this movie did well worldwide. The scenes portraying lack of empathy? That lady freaked out because he was a stranger talking to her kid, valid response. De Niro's talk show host just did his job, Arthur decided to go on stage at comedy club even though he had no self awareness. Healthcare cuts is a valid point but I didn't much care about this since nothing in this movie made me have sympathy for his character.

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  5. I never expected to like this one but I don't know - I did! That said, I can't argue with anything you've said here because they're all really good points.
    Plus - any chance that Adam Driver will take that Oscar from Joaquin Phoenix is good with me!!

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    1. I mean Driver is a far better actor and he doesn't resort to any gimmicks in his performances, that thing with Phoenix losing this much weight here was completely unnecessary

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  6. Ha Ha! I always love your honesty. For me, it's easily one of the best movies of the year probably because I read so much of it differently than you did. But I do say that as a secure man who wouldn't dare call women what some of these pathetic men-babies have. :)

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    1. I mean there are awful women out there who deserve that, if they are murderers etc. but not liking a movie surely doesn't warrant that :)

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  7. The further I get away from it the more the end bugs me. By going that route it feels like after everything the movie didn't really have the guts to take a stand on anything. I'm pulling for Driver to but I thought Bradley Cooper had it in the bag last year so I don't expect much :)
    Also I really hope Zazie Beetz gets a role worthy of her soon!

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    1. Honestly this whole movie was such a nonsense that this rushed ending was one of the smaller offences there. Cooper losing to Malek is a disgrace, truly

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  8. I totally agree that this does not feel like a Joker movie. For me, it just felt like a story of a mentally-ill person who snapped and killed some people. This is not the Joker we know. And I think that's why I didn't like it that much overall.

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    1. Honestly I found the fact they called him Joker even more detrimental to the movie, Phoenix is nothing comparing to what Ledger did in TDK

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  9. My god that first paragraph. Why anyone would use such repulsive language toward you because you didn’t like a movie is just beyond me. Please keep sharing your opinions. I love reading them.

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