View Poll Results: Joker (Todd Phillips)

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    11 64.71%
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Thread: Joker (Todd Phillips)

  1. #151
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    American Honey - ***
    Doctor Sleep - ***
    The Painted Bird - *


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  2. #152
    - - - - - 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
    - - - - - 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
    - - - - - 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
    - - - - - 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; Yesterday at 11:40 PM.

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