View Poll Results: Joker (Todd Phillips)

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Thread: Joker (Todd Phillips)

  1. #151
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Knives Out - ** 1/2
    Honey Boy - ***
    Last Black Man in San Francisco - *** 1/2


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  2. #152
    YUB NUB MF Irish's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Grouchy (view post)
    This is happening in Chile right now.
    Play the vid. It's pretty amazing.


  3. #153
    YUB NUB MF Irish's Avatar
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    Oof. This was so completely artless. How the hell did it win Venice?

    My expectations were high because on some level I bought into the hype. I also hoped they'd do something interesting with the character and maybe oh maybe have something to say about him. But they didn't.

    In short: Ledger > Phoenix, and by a long mile.

    Gonna read through the thread. More thoughts later, maybe.

  4. #154
    YUB NUB MF Irish's Avatar
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    Well. This has already leaked out my ears so I'm just gonna nitpick the hell out of what I remember.

    - The movie had no characters. This was far and away its biggest problem. Phoenix was totally invested, but his performance was a series of fluid tics and obvious gestures. It wasn't based on anything real. Everybody else is so underwritten they can barely be talked about.

    - Misread its main character, its references, and its themes, similar to the way Snyder misread "Watchmen." Everything played at a superficial level. Every line of dialogue was horribly on the nose.

    - The story had no spine, no animating force, and Fleck, as the protagonist, lacked motivation. His only ambition was to be a stand-up comic, but that goal was too vaguely stated and Fleck barely did anything to achieve it. Elsewhere, he didn't make active choices so much as get pinballed around the plot for 90 minutes as the script worked waaaay too hard to justify its final scenes.

    - Fleck isn't interesting because of who he is as a person, but because the audience knows he'll become The Joker. This was the laziest, shallowest choice the writers could have made --- banking the movie on dramatic irony.

    - The second laziest choice was to pile mental illness on the character so we immediately understand how fucked up he is --- without the pesky bother of, ya know, dramatizing any of it. The bored shrink, the 7 meds, the kooky mother, the weird laugh. I'm surprised they didn't nail him with myopia and a limp, just for the helluva it.

    - The daydreams and fantasies undercut the movie elsewhere. I was never quite sure, with each new scene, whether it would turn out to be a bait-and-switch, too.

    - You could remove Baetz's character entirely and it would make no difference to the story. That was the bigger problem there, not the reveal (which was dumb, yes, but it's dumb because it had no narrative weight).

    - Robert DeNiro is far too heavy a presence to pass as a comedian and late night talk show host. (This is something Scorsese understood, and the heart of "King of Comedy's" main gag, but apparently something Phillips missed in his eagerness to make a cheap reference.)

    - I disliked how this movie revised the character of the Joker -- and is presumably now canon -- and undercut everything good and interesting about him. They transformed him from cypher to costume (and literally!). He needn't have been a master criminal, but it would have helped if he had appeared at all competent. I wouldn't trust Arthur Fleck to successfully order his own lunch, with a menu in one hand and $20 in the other.

    - Ditto for what the film said about Thomas Wayne and the Wayne family. Phillips fucked up Batman's origin story, too.

  5. #155
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    I'm gonna do this so you can never call me a chicken again. Let's see how far we're able to take it.

    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    - The movie had no characters. This was far and away its biggest problem. Phoenix was totally invested, but his performance was a series of fluid tics and obvious gestures. It wasn't based on anything real. Everybody else is so underwritten they can barely be talked about.
    I'd argue Arthur Fleck is a well developed character all around - I'll get more into this on the next bit. The others I would take on a case-by-case basis, specially considering the whole film has a completely unreliable POV. But the Wayne family (including Alfred) is well developed for their short time on screen, just to name one example.

    Quote Quoting Irish
    - Misread its main character, its references, and its themes, similar to the way Snyder misread "Watchmen." Everything played at a superficial level. Every line of dialogue was horribly on the nose.
    That comparison just does not stand. Watchmen is a graphic novel with a fixed number of pages, or at least it was until DC finally stooped low enough to milk it. The Joker and Batman have been re-envisioned by what must already be thousands of writers for the better part of a century. They are not so much characters as concepts and archetypes, and many of their versions contradict one another, a point Grant Morrison expanded upon on his Batman run. A new interpretation can certainly be considered bad, but... misreading? A misreading of what?

    Quote Quoting Irish
    - The story had no spine, no animating force, and Fleck, as the protagonist, lacked motivation. His only ambition was to be a stand-up comic, but that goal was too vaguely stated and Fleck barely did anything to achieve it. Elsewhere, he didn't make active choices so much as get pinballed around the plot for 90 minutes as the script worked waaaay too hard to justify its final scenes.
    Whaaaaaaaat? You're right that part of his motivation is becoming a stand up comic (which besides being Killing Joke canon, fits perfectly well with his particular disability and his alienation from a common sense of humor) but that's not all of it - he later wants justice for his mother, he wants to meet his real father... If there is one thing this film and its protagonist are not in a lack of that is drive.

    Quote Quoting Irish
    - Fleck isn't interesting because of who he is as a person, but because the audience knows he'll become The Joker. This was the laziest, shallowest choice the writers could have made --- banking the movie on dramatic irony.
    Eh, dude, of course it's entirely subjective in a way whether you found Fleck compelling or not, but I believe any origin story for the Joker of all characters could be accused of that. You know, I went to see Batman Begins to see how he became Batman as well.

    Quote Quoting Irish
    - The second laziest choice was to pile mental illness on the character so we immediately understand how fucked up he is --- without the pesky bother of, ya know, dramatizing any of it. The bored shrink, the 7 meds, the kooky mother, the weird laugh. I'm surprised they didn't nail him with myopia and a limp, just for the helluva it.
    Well, he's either already crazy or he has to become crazy as in The Killing Joke, Lovers and Madmen (which is awful) and any other of the Joker's origin stories. Measuring my earlier point about the Joker being an archetype-like character, one of his constants is that the tragedies on his life drive him insane. An accumulation of personal tragedies is inherent to the story - it's OK if you found it lame, but come on, it has to be there.

    Quote Quoting Irish
    - The daydreams and fantasies undercut the movie elsewhere. I was never quite sure, with each new scene, whether it would turn out to be a bait-and-switch, too.
    I don't think the movie handled its unreliable narrator completely well which is one of my nitpicks with it, but this statement is still wildly hyperbolic. If I understand what you are referring to correctly, they only did it once with the romantic interest.

    Quote Quoting Irish
    - You could remove Baetz's character entirely and it would make no difference to the story. That was the bigger problem there, not the reveal (which was dumb, yes, but it's dumb because it had no narrative weight).
    What? Besides this being a gimmicky way to criticize a screenplay (as the common complaint against Raiders of the Lost Ark proved) it's also not true. Fleck clearly uses his fantasies about his neighbour to validate himself when none else does. She's the only one that laughs at his jokes at the comedy club, man.

    Quote Quoting Irish
    - Robert DeNiro is far too heavy a presence to pass as a comedian and late night talk show host. (This is something Scorsese understood, and the heart of "King of Comedy's" main gag, but apparently something Phillips missed in his eagerness to make a cheap reference.)
    I could grant you this point but I do think the casting choice also served to inform the potential cinephile viewer that Phillips aping Scorsese was not something meant to fly under their radar. Not many movies could have cast Bob De Niro just to make that point, but... there you go.

    Quote Quoting Irish
    - I disliked how this movie revised the character of the Joker -- and is presumably now canon -- and undercut everything good and interesting about him. They transformed him from cypher to costume (and literally!). He needn't have been a master criminal, but it would have helped if he had appeared at all competent. I wouldn't trust Arthur Fleck to successfully order his own lunch, with a menu in one hand and $20 in the other.
    I don't think Joker was meant to launch a continuity or a new canon and its creators seem to agree with me. We'll see what the money people have to say because this flick surpassed all monetary expectations. I mentioned this point that he doesn't seem like an organized loon that could eventually become a mastermind in my initial appraisal of the film, but if it's meant to be a stand-alone Elseworld, I'm down with it.

    Quote Quoting Irish
    - Ditto for what the film said about Thomas Wayne and the Wayne family. Phillips fucked up Batman's origin story, too.
    No, I will fight you hard on this one. Joker's take on the Wayne family is its most subversive element and I'm curious what DC editorial had to say about it. Here we have this inmensely rich hero who spends all of his time punching poor people in the face, and while many specific comics have been about him fighting rich menaces, the Wayne family is rarely accountable for any mischiefs. And the movie proposes that they are inmensely guilty for the social gap that drives Gotham City into chaos. I find that a beautiful twist and it sounds like something you'd appreciate from your fiction.

  6. #156
    YUB NUB MF Irish's Avatar
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    - You believe Arthur to be well developed, but based on what, exactly?

    - Alfred is in the movie for 1 scene and has about 3 lines. That's barely an actable part much less a character.

    - Re: "Watchmen," Phillips literalizes character elements and ideas the way Snyder did. Making The Joker a literal street clown is a superficial read. It's obvious and dumb.

    - Re: motivations, what you're describing happens about 1 hour into the picture, it's pure plot, rendered in a linear fashion. [
    ] Before that, what do you know about him? What do you know about him at 5 minutes into the movie that's different at 55 minutes?

    - I meant mental illness is treated superficially, not that it couldn't be depicted. Phillips takes a shotgun approach; the audience learns about it all at once, in dialogue, at the beginning of the movie. The script doesn't take the opportunity to dramatize it.

    - This is a mainstream studio picture. Everything in it must serve some narrative or thematic purpose. To say that Baetz's character serves no purpose, and if you removed her nobody would notice, isn't gimmicky.

    - I meant to comics canon. Not the potential for movie sequels. I very strongly suspect the movie will influence the comics one way or another.

    - "Immensely rich hero punching poor people in the face" is an interested read on Batman, but I'm not sure it's accurate to describe him that way, especially not based on media outside the comics -- tv shows, cartoons, movies, etc. Changing Thomas Wayne they way they did means an implied change to his relationship to Bruce, and that change would impact the way Bruce saw the world. This in turn would influence the way "Batman" manifested in Bruce's imagination.

  7. #157
    unattainable Zac Efron's Avatar
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    This is probably one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen in a movie- a terrible takeoff of something like American Psycho awash in Batman references in Gotham. Sucking in your gut, flexing, and dancing his way through this movie, Joaquin isn’t doing much other than the former attributes. This movie has serious white supremacy optics with a majority of the black characters and Arthur’s inability to control them- even pointing a gun at the tv when black singers are performing. Tonally this could have been worse but at the same time, the score felt like it wavered between scolding this despicable loser and making him the hero the end of the film seems satisfied to deem him despite his mental illness where he just wants to kill people (good god I can’t imagine how offensive and hurtful this is to some). I’m pretty sure I’ll live a happy life if I never have to see Bruce Wayne’s parents ever die on screen for the thousandth time. Rubbish. It looked ok but goodness is Todd Phillips an asshole I hope I never meet.
    Last edited by Zac Efron; 11-17-2019 at 11:40 PM.

  8. #158
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Zac Efron (view post)
    This movie has serious white supremacy optics with a majority of the black characters and Arthur’s inability to control them- even pointing a gun at the tv when black singers are performing.
    I must confess I hadn't considered any racial aspects to Joaquin's anger (at least not in the way Taxi Driver clearly has them) but, I don't understand... how is this a flaw in the movie? If you think Fleck's optic has race problems, well OK, but why would that be a problem for the movie?

    Quote Quoting Zac Efron
    despite his mental illness where he just wants to kill people (good god I can’t imagine how offensive and hurtful this is to some)
    Your phrasing was convoluted so I'm not sure I caught your meaning, but... what the hell? The movie is set and produced in the United States, home of the deranged mass murdered with no access to proper public mental health.

  9. #159
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    I must confess I hadn't considered any racial aspects to Joaquin's anger
    That’s probably because they aren’t actually there, and that’s a ridiculous stretch to take away from this film.

    Tonally this could have been worse but at the same time, the score felt like it wavered between scolding this despicable loser and making him the hero the end of the film seems satisfied to deem him despite his mental illness where he just wants to kill people (good god I can’t imagine how offensive and hurtful this is to some).
    He is the hero, in his own head. So, him being depicted as the hero of this film is appropriate in that regard.

    Also, anyone ridiculous enough to take offense by that aspect should perhaps be reminded that they are in fact still watching a comic book movie about the comic book supervillain The Joker. The movie is a glimpse into the mind of evil incarnate. Literally the only thing keeping his evil nature at bay is being numbed out on medication, but as soon as his access goes away, his true nature is free to come out, and only then is he finally happy. This is not a statement that people with mental illness are inherently bad. It’s that this specific person with mental illness, aka the fucking Joker, the guy whose name is in the title, and arguably the most famous and instantly recognizable fictional bad guys in pop culture today, yeah, THIS guy, is inherently bad. That just kinda comes with the territory when it comes to this character. You know, being super evil and laughing about it is sorta this character’s thing.

    Seriously, are people really going into this thing somehow expecting that the Joker DOESN’T turn bad??

  10. #160
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    Aren't the attacks on Arthur multi racial? And even if he does have "race issues" (and I think that's a bit of a stretch) wouldn't that make his character -and consequently the film- more interesting and multi layered?
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  11. #161
    good for health Skitch's Avatar
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    I have heard the comment before that Arthur's let down or ruined by non-whites. I guess I wouldn't argue people that feel that way, but I didnt see that way. Hell, I saw it as white people being the real ones that fail him. If the argument was HE sees it as ethnic people failing him, I could see that from his messed up POV. But that was not the reality presented in the film.

  12. #162
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Wouldn't the Wayne family be the whitest thing there is from a historical standpoint?

  13. #163
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Skitch (view post)
    I have heard the comment before that Arthur's let down or ruined by non-whites. I guess I wouldn't argue people that feel that way, but I didnt see that way. Hell, I saw it as white people being the real ones that fail him. If the argument was HE sees it as ethnic people failing him, I could see that from his messed up POV. But that was not the reality presented in the film.
    Exactly this.

  14. #164
    good for health Skitch's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Grouchy (view post)
    Wouldn't the Wayne family be the whitest thing there is from a historical standpoint?
    Yes. Old white money and guilt is the basis of Batman.

  15. #165
    MadMan After Hours MadMan's Avatar
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    I thought this was great and yes I got most of the references. It does make me want to watch Taxi Driver again (I still have my copy) and my favorite part was [
    ]

    Phoenix doesn't match Ledger's Joker but I didn't want him to do that anyways. His Joker is a mix of pitty, insanity and a pathetic desire to matter in a world that doesn't care if he exists. To me it's The Joker before he became this unstoppable force of psychotic mayhem. Also Incels are dumb as shit if they worship this guy, but hey expecting them to get the message at this point is foolish.
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  16. #166
    unattainable Zac Efron's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Grouchy (view post)
    I must confess I hadn't considered any racial aspects to Joaquin's anger (at least not in the way Taxi Driver clearly has them) but, I don't understand... how is this a flaw in the movie? If you think Fleck's optic has race problems, well OK, but why would that be a problem for the movie?
    I don't think Philips was aware he was actually portraying Arthur's privilege in the movie with these characters? Sure, the gun pointing at the black singers on tv, that was the red flag for me and definitely did set me up to view the film this way. Just made me flash right back to numerous times in other movies when a man holds a gun up to someone without their knowledge because he's feeling out his power and potential. It'd be a different discussion if this movie decided to to investigate these notions further, like the films this is imitating. Compare this also with the Joker of Ledger and Nicholson- figures who are intriguing, captivating, and properly horrifying in their bad guy portraits. None of that can be said of Phoenix's Arthur and not even Phillips gives him a chance to be an impactful, menacing figure who came from something, anything other than underdeveloped mopey lonerism now emboldened by bullets. There'd better be one hell of a glow-up if I'm to believe that is the same Joker to actually take on Batman someday, because he's not going to survive more than a week in Arkham without solitary and that gun.

    Your phrasing was convoluted so I'm not sure I caught your meaning, but... what the hell? The movie is set and produced in the United States, home of the deranged mass murdered with no access to proper public mental health.
    I believe the stat may be that 1 in 4 people have mental illness in the US, though I doubt anyone would like to be characterized as able to just shoot someone who gets them angry the second they go off their meds and are handed a gun.

    Quote Quoting TGM (view post)
    Seriously, are people really going into this thing somehow expecting that the Joker DOESN’T turn bad??
    To be honest, I wasn't expecting a 2-hour cinematic sad trombone. Bad can be fun. This wasn't it.
    Last edited by Zac Efron; 11-21-2019 at 07:39 AM.

  17. #167
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Zac Efron (view post)
    I don't think Philips was aware he was actually portraying Arthur's privilege in the movie with these characters? Sure, the gun pointing at the black singers on tv, that was the red flag for me and definitely did set me up to view the film this way. Just made me flash right back to numerous times in other movies when a man holds a gun up to someone without their knowledge because he's feeling out his power and potential. It'd be a different discussion if this movie decided to to investigate these notions further, like the films this is imitating.
    As a viewer, I wasn't aware of this either - this racial reading is entirely yours to back up. I remember the "pointing the gun at the TV" shot, I just took it as another visual link to Taxi Driver. I'm not sure what you mean by "Fleck's privilege". Are you simply saying that he's white in a roundabout way?

    Quote Quoting Zac Efron
    Compare this also with the Joker of Ledger and Nicholson- figures who are intriguing, captivating, and properly horrifying in their bad guy portraits. None of that can be said of Phoenix's Arthur and not even Phillips gives him a chance to be an impactful, menacing figure who came from something, anything other than underdeveloped mopey lonerism now emboldened by bullets. There'd better be one hell of a glow-up if I'm to believe that is the same Joker to actually take on Batman someday, because he's not going to survive more than a week in Arkham without solitary and that gun.
    Like I said before, I consider this movie an Elseworlds and therefore I'm willing to accept that the Joker is portrayed as a disturbed individual who is less than a master criminal. Regardless, in the inevitable Joker comparison I think this one is better than Nicholson's and at least as good as Ledger's - the difference being that here he's the protagonist instead of an antagonist and is treated as such.

    Quote Quoting Zac Efron
    I believe the stat may be that 1 in 4 people have mental illness in the US, though I doubt anyone would like to be characterized as able to just shoot someone who gets them angry the second they go off their meds and are handed a gun.
    That's... a crazy stat. Damn. I'd focus on lowering that instead of blaming and name-calling film directors. I still don't understand the problem with the film, though. Are you saying it's unlikely or unheard of for US citizens to turn to guns when the mental health system fails them?

  18. #168
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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  19. #169
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Grouchy (view post)
    That's... a crazy stat. Damn. I'd focus on lowering that instead of blaming and name-calling film directors. I still don't understand the problem with the film, though. Are you saying it's unlikely or unheard of for US citizens to turn to guns when the mental health system fails them?
    I think (s?)he's saying that in the context of the movie he moves a bit fast from mentally unhealthy but contained to going off his meds to getting a gun and shooting someone. I guess you could say it's a bit contrived but again a) Travis Bickle's descent into homicide or (at first) attempted homicide happens pretty fast in the two hours or so of Taxi Driver and b) no matter how "realistic" this movie is (read: not realism) it still very much has comic book trappings and that a to b to c quick moving structure seems very comic book to me. One of the more fascinating things about this is the push and pull between "realist" '70s gritty movie (and those films were never as "real" as people think either) and the heightened "unreal" comic book trappings.
    Last edited by Pop Trash; 11-22-2019 at 09:30 PM.
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  20. #170
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    I think a case could be made for that (like Travis, he also claims his first victims pretty early in the movie), it's true, but I think to take it as a broad commentary on real-life mental illness is, yeah, forgetting it's still a movie about the Joker. Taxi Driver might have seemed "realistic" in a way at the time, because it showed things that didn't usually appear on screen like porn theaters and underage prostitution, but watched today it's nearly surreal in nature.

  21. #171
    YUB NUB MF Irish's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Pop Trash (view post)
    I think (s?)he's saying that in the context of the movie he moves a bit fast from mentally unhealthy but contained to going off his meds to getting a gun and shooting someone.
    No, it's the entire depiction of mentally ill people as potentially dangerous. This is a recurring trope in movies and television, like fridging, black dude dies first, or bury your gays. ZE's making a pretty straight forward complaint. Once you recognize the trope, you see it everywhere because it is everywhere and holy shit is it tiresome.

    a) Travis Bickle's descent into homicide or (at first) attempted homicide happens pretty fast in the two hours or so of Taxi Driver
    What? "Taxi Driver" uses violence in a limited way, as an provocation and a dramatic exclamation point. The first bout of real violence doesn't happen until an hour into the movie, and it's a relatively positive view of violence. (Travis stops a liquor store robbery.)

    Meanwhile, "Joker" starts with violence. Two minutes in and a buncha kids are beating the hell out of Arthur in an alleyway. Philips then employs a Bernie-Goetz-style subway shooting as his first act climax (at about the 30 minute mark).

  22. #172
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    ...

    I feel like this conversation moved forward with everyone having completely skipped my previous post...

  23. #173
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    No, it's the entire depiction of mentally ill people as potentially dangerous. This is a recurring trope in movies and television, like fridging, black dude dies first, or bury your gays. ZE's making a pretty straight forward complaint. Once you recognize the trope, you see it everywhere because it is everywhere and holy shit is it tiresome.
    Huh... What the hell? Mentally ill people are potentially dangerous. Not all of them, of course, but... why is this even up for discussion?
    Last edited by Grouchy; 11-23-2019 at 05:54 PM.

  24. #174
    YUB NUB MF Irish's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Grouchy (view post)
    Huh... What the hell? Mentally ill people are potentially dangerous.
    No, they're not.

    From literally 10 seconds of googling:

    - The stigma of schizophrenia (Feb 2000). The main complaint from the mental health campaigners was that the media presented mentally ill people as dangerous time bombs waiting to explode, when the reality was quite different. They pointed out that 95% of homicides were committed by people with no mental illness and that mentally ill people were far more likely to harm themselves than others. Sue Baker, head of media relations at Mind, said: “Research published in January 1999 in the British Journal of Psychiatry showed that the proportion of homicides committed by people with mental illness has gone down by 3% a year since 1957. Yet this research was ignored by almost all the newspapers, with the exception of the Guardian.”

    - The stigma of mental disorders (Sept 2016). An important contributor to falsely applied stereotypes is the mass media. Media coverage of mental illnesses has been consistently and overwhelmingly negative and imprecise. Television news and entertainment programs, films and newspapers play a central role in disseminating biased information surrounding mental illness and strengthen negative stereotypes. Sensationalist reports of violence and crimes committed by individuals with these disorders receive much more attention than similar crimes committed by mentally healthy persons. This crystallizes a biased image of patients with mental disorders as threatening persons who endanger society.

    - Media and mental health (Jan 2018). Unfortunately, the media consistently portrays persons with mental illness as violent, murderous, unpredictable and have themselves to blame for their condition, are gross exaggerations and misrepresentations of reality and completely untrue. This has resulted in the belief in the general population that persons with psychiatric disorders are uncontrollable and dangerous and should be feared and avoided. Research has shown that negative views of individuals with mental illness are directly proportional to the time spent in watching television. Regular viewers hold more negative views compared to those who watch television for very short period.

    why is this even up for discussion?
    Probably because you're so completely ignorant.

  25. #175
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Well, thank you for the data, but Joker is made on the shadow of the small percentage of mentally ill people who turn out to be dangerous for others, one of which shot up a theater showing a Batman movie not so long ago. It's the movie's prerrogative that its protagonist will become dangerous, because... it's a damn Joker movie. It can't be the fucking Care Bears feature film.

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