View Poll Results: Joker (Todd Phillips)

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Thread: Joker (Todd Phillips)

  1. #176
    Nobody said it had to be a "Care Bears" film. (Jesus, strawman much?)

    We were talking about the artless and unnecessary propagation of socially harmful and narratively boring stereotypes.

    Your argument might have some juice outside Gotham, btw, a place where several notable villains are judged insane and sentenced to Arkham but have mentally healthy backstories. Eg: The Joker, Two Face, Poison Ivy, etc.

  2. #177
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    Reading Joker discourse is like watching Dems vs. GOP talk about Trump's impeachment. It's like everyone is living in their own manufactured reality. Also, strange people would get irate about the "realistic" portrayal of mental illness in a flippin' Joker movie but here we are. The Punisher is also a heightened, not very realistic portrayal of vigilanteism for those keeping track. Oh and if a cop gets shot up in the field you probably couldn't turn him into a robot either.
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  3. #178
    Ooof. That's a terrible argument and badly stated to boot.

    Even if you think the criticism isn't warranted, how do you get to "bUt iT's a CoMIc bOoK moViE!" as a defense?

  4. #179
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Ooof. That's a terrible argument and badly stated to boot.

    Even if you think the criticism isn't warranted, how do you get to "bUt iT's a CoMIc bOoK moViE!" as a defense?
    Because... it... is?? >_>

  5. #180
    Administrator Ezee E's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting TGM (view post)
    Because... it... is?? >_>
    Guess we're too used to the amusement park films

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  6. #181
    Quote Quoting TGM (view post)
    Because... it... is?? >_>
    Sure, but what does that mean to you? That we should grade "Joker" on a curve? That we should ignore its shittier elements because it's fantasy?

    I usually wouldn't bother but Philips is absolutely begging for his film to be viewed as dramatic fiction and high art. Since he wants to roll around with the big boys, he should be open to big boy criticism, and about everything in the movie.

    So should you, frankly.

  7. #182
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Sure, but what does that mean to you? That we should grade "Joker" on a curve? That we should ignore its shittier elements because it's fantasy?

    I usually wouldn't bother but Philips is absolutely begging for his film to be viewed as dramatic fiction and high art. Since he wants to roll around with the big boys, he should be open to big boy criticism, and about everything in the movie.

    So should you, frankly.
    No, we don't need to grade it on a curve. But we should grade it based on the content in the film, and not our own personal head-canon (a growing trend I'm noticing more and more often with a lot of online film discussion these days, which is only making this whole hobby of discussing movies with fellow cinema buffs online more and more exhausting to continue to take part in, but alas...).

    What is the film? Literally, as I described on the previous page, and which proceeded to go completely ignored by everyone, this is a comic book movie about the comic book supervillain The Joker. It's a glimpse into the mind of evil incarnate. This movie isn't making a statement that people with mental illness are inherently bad. It’s that this specific person with mental illness, the Joker, arguably the most famous and instantly recognizable fictional bad guys in pop culture today, this guy is inherently bad. 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 able to find some semblance of happiness in his life. And anybody watching this movie thinking that it's saying all mentally ill people are like this seriously might need to just be pointed at the title of the movie again to be reminded of what it is that they're watching, a comic book film about a comic book villain. It's not intended to be realistic. And hell, most of the movie itself arguably takes place in the character's head anyways, meaning a lot of it isn't intended to be taken as literal either.

    We can criticize the movie for being a rallying cry for incels, or being a white supremacist propaganda piece, or all other manner of horseshit that's just not even the slightest bit supported by the actual content in the film. And we can also criticize the movie for trying to say that all mentally ill people are inherently bad, even though, again, that's not actually the case here at all. Or instead, rather than just making up a bunch of bullshit in order to unfairly label this movie as "problematic", we can instead judge it for what it actually is, that being a character study on a very specific and very popular cultural icon of a villain, diving into his head and seeing what makes this very specific character tick.

    I personally think it's an interesting subject matter to watch, as do plenty of other people as well. That doesn't mean that you have to personally like it, but lets at least be fair with our criticisms against it.

  8. #183
    Your read can excuse --- a little too conveniently for you, I think --- just about any media stereotype out there, on the basis that they're always about a specific individual and not meant to represent a group or implicitly say anything to the audience.

    If The Joker is "inherently bad" and "evil incarnate" then how did "The Killing Joke," a 35 year old comic book, present his backstory in a completely different way than Philips did?

    And again (ugh): The read is about mentally illness as a indicator of potential violence.

    I don't know what you meant by "head cannon" or how it relates to this discussion.

    It's not intended to be realistic.
    The film leans hard towards realism and in all its elements. You talk as if it's in the same league as a CW show.

    but lets at least be fair with our criticisms against it
    Oh, but we are. That you're choking on it isn't a problem with the criticism itself.

  9. #184
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Your read can excuse --- a little too conveniently for you, I think --- just about any media stereotype out there, on the basis that they're always about a specific individual and not meant to represent a group or implicitly say anything to the audience.
    And your read can quite conveniently label the movie as being somehow harmful, regardless of whether or not that happens to even be the movie's intent.

    If The Joker is "inherently bad" and "evil incarnate" then how did "The Killing Joke," a 35 year old comic book, present his backstory in a completely different way than Philips did?
    The Killing Joke also ends with the Joker saying something along the lines of liking to remember his backstory being one way, and sometimes another, and that if he's going to have an origin, he'd prefer it to be multiple choice. This was played up in The Dark Knight with him giving different backstories throughout the movie, and it's played up again in this movie in various instances where we explicitly see him remembering certain scenes one way, and then later on a completely different way. So, it's still consistent even with The Killing Joke in that regard.

    And again (ugh): The read is about mentally illness as a indicator of potential violence.
    Add it to my laundry list of things the movie isn't actually about then. The point remains unchanged.

    I don't know what you meant by "head cannon" or how it relates to this discussion.
    I mean people seeing the movie and seemingly making shit up about it just to justify hating it even more than they already do. Like Zac Efron seeing white supremacy, when there is none. And it's not just exclusive to this movie. Years back, some wanted to accuse La La Land of being racist in order to add fuel to their criticisms of the movie, despite no actual racism existing in the movie. Some wanted to accuse Bohemian Rhapsody of completely excluding Freddie Mercury's sexuality and heritage and criticize the movie for this, even though the movie heavily features these elements. Earlier this year, some accused OUATIH of being misogynist, despite no actual instances of misogyny existing in the film, just because people needed a reason to shit on it. And here, well, we've got all the various things people are accusing this movie of being, of which it isn't actually any of those things. And hell, I recall earlier this year as well when you wanted to dock points against Avengers: Endgame for supposedly being a MAGA film, despite the fact that that take couldn't be further from what that movie's aims were.

    It's one thing to criticize a movie based on the actual content on display on the film. It's another thing to watch a movie and see things that aren't even there, and hold these things against the movie. Hence, head-canon, canon that only exists within our head, but which only confuses everyone else in the conversation who saw the movie, because none of the shit being described was actually in the movie. It just reeks of desperation, of just trying to make a movie appear to be so much worse than it actually is, by criticizing it for things that aren't actually there.

    The film leans hard towards realism and in all its elements. You talk as if it's in the same league as a CW show.
    It also leans hard on a lot of it taking place in his head. A lot of what's being shown on screen is the Joker's fantasy.

    Oh, but we are. That you're choking on it isn't a problem with the criticism itself.
    We're not, though. Or, at least, some of us aren't. \_(ツ)_/

  10. #185
    Intent doesn't have much to do with it.

    You're using the potential for ambiguity in this particular film (of which there's almost none) to shield it from criticism.

    I find your laundry list to be too literal. You seem to believe that if something isn't explicitly stated in dialogue or action, or that if you miss a pattern or theme, then it can't exist in the film and other people are "making shit up." You don't really want a discussion. You want dictation, and on your terms.

    A big part of film criticism --- and any discussion around it --- is interpretation. But you're wholly rejecting any interpretation of "Joker" that isn't unreserved praise.

    Like, even if we dismiss the idea of harmful media stereotypes -- which is more than a little ignorant, but whatever -- Phillips' writing it is still terrible, because it's heavily based on very lazy exposition and not action. This is fundamental. The movie fails on a basic "show don't tell" level.

    PS: The implication of Joker's "multiple choice" crack in "The Killing Joke" was that his past was too painful for him to recall, so he intentionally dodges it. There's nothing in the comic's structure that implies his backstory is fabricated. In fact, the idea that it might be contradicts the premise --- which is that he was healthy until he had "one bad day." If Moore presents the character that way, and it's a valid and authentic presentation, then how is The Joker is "inherently bad" and "evil incarnate"? Why did Phillips go to such extremes when presenting him as mentally ill, and why did he do it in such a hacky way?

  11. #186
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Intent doesn't have much to do with it.

    You're using the potential for ambiguity in this particular film (of which there's almost none) to shield it from criticism.
    No, by all means, be critical. I just think we should be critical of the film for what it is, and not for what it's not.

    I find your laundry list to be too literal. You seem to believe that if something isn't explicitly stated in dialogue or action, or that if you miss a pattern or theme, then it can't exist in the film and other people are "making shit up." You don't really want a discussion. You want dictation, and on your terms.
    If you want to label a movie as bad, then fine. My issue is with labeling the movie as being some sort of danger to society that people need to be shielded from. Just because a movie is about an evil subject matter doesn't mean that the movie itself is also evil. Yet, that's how it's being treated in this thread.

    A big part of film criticism --- and any discussion around it --- is interpretation. But you're wholly rejecting any interpretation of "Joker" that isn't unreserved praise.
    Absolutely not. Your initial criticisms some pages back were almost all in regards to the film purely from a technical level. I disagree with those opinions, but I recognize them as being valid points worth bringing up.

    Like, even if we dismiss the idea of harmful media stereotypes -- which is more than a little ignorant, but whatever -- Phillips' writing it is still terrible, because it's heavily based on very lazy exposition and not action. This is fundamental. The movie fails on a basic "show don't tell" level.
    Sure, I can see where you're coming from there. I don't personally feel that way, but that's fine.

    PS: The implication of Joker's "multiple choice" crack in "The Killing Joke" was that his past was too painful for him to recall, so he intentionally dodges it. There's nothing in the comic's structure that implies his backstory is fabricated. In fact, the idea that it might be contradicts the premise --- which is that he was healthy until he had "one bad day." If Moore presents the character that way, and it's a valid and authentic presentation, then how is The Joker is "inherently bad" and "evil incarnate"? Why did Phillips go to such extremes when presenting him as mentally ill, and why did he do it in such a hacky way?
    The Joker is Arthur's mental illness in this movie. His laughing tic always kicks in at incredibly inappropriate times, because that's his inner Joker trying to get out, which he spends a good portion of the movie trying to bury away inside of himself through medication and counseling. He only stops fighting those laughs after he stops taking his meds and the Joker is truly able to come out and become one with him, and we see him reveling in the chaos taking place all around him.
    Last edited by TGM; 11-25-2019 at 12:55 AM.

  12. #187
    Guttenbergian Pop Trash's Avatar
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    I believe you can be a failure of a system that doesn't take care of you and you can be a homicidal maniac. These two things aren't mutually exclusive.
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  13. #188
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    The Killing Joke actually functions as a blueprint for this movie in many ways. And I kind of agree that Phillips could have been a lot subtler in his writing and I said as much when I first watched it. But that's not the same as saying he's making a broad statement about mental illness or accusing him of being a bad person based on his work. That's what I take issue with.

  14. #189
    Quote Quoting TGM (view post)
    If you want to label a movie as bad, then fine. My issue is with labeling the movie as being some sort of danger to society that people need to be shielded from. Just because a movie is about an evil subject matter doesn't mean that the movie itself is also evil. Yet, that's how it's being treated in this thread.
    Yeah, what? Nobody labeled the movie as a "danger to society" or called it "evil."

    Absolutely not. Your initial criticisms some pages back were almost all in regards to the film purely from a technical level. I disagree with those opinions, but I recognize them as being valid points worth bringing up.
    Yeah. Technical arguments are fine but to limit yourself to them is too narrow a view for me. It's only half of what criticism is, or should be.

    Eg: When Pauline Kael called "Dirty Harry" a "deeply immoral movie" or Gene Siskel referred to the director of "Friday the 13th" as a "despicable creature," they weren't making technical arguments.

    You buck wildly at any argument that doesn't fit comfortably in your worldview, dismiss it out of hand, and accuse the people making those arguments of bad faith. I don't understand it, especially because doing this leaves no room for actual discussion.

    I honestly can't think of anything else to say to you.

    Quote Quoting Grouchy (view post)
    accusing him of being a bad person based on his work. That's what I take issue with.
    Yeah. Nobody made this argument either.

  15. #190
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Yeah. Nobody made this argument either.
    Quote Quoting Zac Efron
    It looked ok but goodness is Todd Phillips an asshole I hope I never meet.
    I agree that the script could have been subtler. I disagree that this film is somehow a menace to society, and I'm aware that's not the argument you were making.

  16. #191
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    TGM, I find it amusing that you accuse critics of the movie for inventing "head canon" instead of going off of what's on the screen, and then you start the next sentence with: "this is a comic book movie about the criminal mastermind The Joker", none of which (except the name) is actually "on screen". One of my biggest disappointments was precisely the fact that so much of the movie relies on preconceptions and comic book canon.

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  17. #192
    Moderator TGM's Avatar
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    I didn’t actually say “criminal mastermind” though, because as has been brought up, that particular aspect indeed isn’t on display in the film.

    And sure, I can see that as a valid complaint against the movie, that you felt it relied too heavily on preconceived notions of the character. I didn’t personally feel that way watching it, as I felt it did a good enough job painting this interpretation in an understandable manner that works well enough without prior knowledge and stands on its own, but I can at least see where you can come away with that take.

  18. #193
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    I really enjoyed the mild-mannered transformation to ranting psychopath, but I wish the fantasy reveal was held back more towards the climax. It's clear watching from the beginning that Arthur has mental problems and he's been battling them for a long time, but Arthur doesn't really have much room to grow- he goes from having mental problems, to more severe mental problems to which ultimately when the stars align he's crowned Joker. If the fantasy reveal was held back more, the climax would have hit harder and have had a much more damning impact on the chaos that resulted. Without it, we are just waiting for the inevitable.

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  19. #194
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Grouchy (view post)
    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.
    Yikes, no way. Not by a long-shot for what I mentioned above. The mental problems that's shown throughout weigh down the inevitable- There's barely an arch for Arthur and that's the biggest problem with the film. Unless of course you're already expecting the climax going into the movie and you're satisfied with how predicable it became.

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  20. #195
    Replacing Luck Since 1984 Dukefrukem's Avatar
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    Also I can't believe they put that Bruce Wayne scene in the movie.

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  21. #196
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    Also I can't believe they put that Bruce Wayne scene in the movie.
    Why?

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  22. #197
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    Quote Quoting Ezee E (view post)
    Why?
    It's like WB couldn't help themselves.... it reeks of desperation. Doesn't feel like a Phillips decision.

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  23. #198
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    Quote Quoting Dukefrukem (view post)
    It's like WB couldn't help themselves.... it reeks of desperation. Doesn't feel like a Phillips decision.
    Specifically not engaging in your other criticisms because, okay...I can see how some may feel that way. I have no argument with anyone feeling that way.

    But this? Huh, what?

  24. #199
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    I’m assuming Duke’s referring to the Wayne murders?

  25. #200
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    Quote Quoting TGM (view post)
    I’m assuming Duke’s referring to the Wayne murders?
    I am

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