Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Is it just me, or is it getting crazy out there?

If the first word that comes to mind when discussing a movie is irresponsible, who is that an indictment of, the audience or the filmmaker? I'm asking because I honestly don't know. Of course, the creator of a story is responsible for its contents, but are they on the hook for what people do after consuming it?

Isn't a just a movie?

Obviously, I'm weeks late to the party, but even with all it's unnecessary dancing about like an asshole, ultimately I dug Todd Phillips' Joker. It's not that I enjoyed it (it's an absolute f--king grind), or will likely ever see it again, but I very much appreciated yet another take on the infamous villain. 

Full-disclosure, I have a brother who is mentally ill (though doing infinitely better as he's gotten older), and early on I saw a good amount of him in Joaquin Phoenix's version of Arthur Fleck. To most, he's a weird f--king dude, sure, but catch him on a good day and not only is he fiercely loyal to those he's close with, but he's also likely to keep them laughing the entire time.

While my brother swears he had what it takes to be a world-class guitarist, Fleck also has these ideas that he's going to be somebody and prove them all wrong. In his case, perhaps unsurprisingly, Arthur wants to be a comedian. 

Unfortunately, what little supports Arthur had in place fall apart, and what felt like a slow decline turns into an absolute f--king free-fall. In rapid succession, Arthur loses his medications, his job, his mom and most his mind. And not all of it is his fault. As awkward and possibly creepy as he was before, Arthur was a fairly likable guy. Hell, even when he was f--ked with unnecessarily, he still kind of took it in stride. Eventually though, he broke. And totally f--ks up.

[major spoilers to follow]

Personally, I was very sympathetic to Arthur. Initially. Up until the point where he killed those men on the train, I was firmly (though hesitantly/reluctantly) in his corner. I don't really want to get into it, but I have been on the periphery of something very similar to this (not murder obviously, but violence), and have seen my brother at his breaking point. He snapped, like Arthur, but not far enough to never come back from. And if you think Arthur's behavior is glorified, I respectfully, but passionately, disagree. I started this post saying the film felt irresponsible, but that's only if you think Arthur walks out of the chaos a f--king hero. 

He isn't. 
Does this count as dancing with the devil in the pale moonlight? Asking for a friend...
Whatever joy or power he has is, at best, the support of an angry mob, or at worst, a figment of his imagination (hopefully). Yes, real or imagined, Arthur Fleck has ascended into something more than he was. But that something is a reprehensible monster. Or, in less nuanced terms, a f--king villain. 

I'm going to try, perhaps unsuccessfully, to lighten the mood with the Yays and Boos. Bringing my personal connections into a work of fiction probably isn't the best idea under any circumstances, but for the entire two-hour plus run-time, wrong or right, it's all I could think about. Well, that and Jared Leto. But more on that in a bit...

My face, when at the conclusion of the directions students ask
Wait, what are we supposed to be doing?


  • I guess a lot of people are doing it, but f--k it, I love seeing the throwback distribution logos.
  • A dude in NYC once flipped his laminated card in my direction, but I didn't know what the f--k to with it (I was ten, I thought he was giving it to me). Good to see Arthur has the same setup (my guy's said he was blind and he was selling pencils for a dollar).
  • Between you and me, I have always wanted to try stand up. And after this...I'm thinking even if I wouldn't be that bad.
  • Dude probably lost his job, but goddamn did I love Clerk Guy at the hospital. Especially the moment when he realizes...yeah, I should probably stop reading this out loud.
  • Aw, he let Gary go. After a kiss on the forehead, no less.
  • I know we're supposed to hate Gary Glitter but f--k me, does Rock and Roll part 2 make me want to score a goal unit of some kind every single time I hear it.
  • I'm not entirely sure that Zazie Beetz' character even exists, but that's okay. She wouldn't be the first imaginary woman I've loved. Wait, what?
  • My wife, jarred as she was, not only saw this movie with me (seemed very unlikely at the time), but she also kind of liked it. And we had passionate...words after the film. No, seriously. Words. (but still! [we usually only talk about the kids])
  • And finally, even if they are all over the place (Hell, it might be because they are all over the place), I'm stoked that in my lifetime, we've seen so many versions of the Joker. I used to take that weird stance that only one iteration could count (Keaton is the only Batman, bro), but I realize that that's inherently foolish and short-sighted. Jack was, in 1989, f--king awesome as the Joker. Now he might not be creepy enough to sell KitchenAid mixers on QVC. Heath did something different that turned out perfect. Jared Leto's version may have never been given a fair shake, but at least he did something totally f--king bananas. Look, I know a lot of people don't like what Phoenix did here, but I think he nailed it. And in ten years from now, when they do it again, well, I can't wait to see how each of the Jonas Brothers handle the role (or whatever, who the f--k knows at this point [maybe we'll see Affleck in the role])

Maybe we get master Bruce to play, say...
 ...a little closer to the house from now on?

  • Guys, you really want to take his sign? Really? Nothing better to do in New York F--kin' City?
  • Ooooh...that journal? No bueno. And believe me, I've got drawers full of them (blog notes, people, not psychotic ramblin--- er, scratch that)
  • There's blood on your hands Randall. Blood on your hands. Oh, and on your face, too. And your shirt. And the floor. And on Arthur...
  • For f--k's sake, what was with all the dancing? I mean, none of it's good - not at all- but sweet jesus, if I live to be a hundred, I don't think I'll ever be able to unsee all seventeen minutes of the unsolicited romancing of a pistol. Crikey. Same goes for Swan Lake in the Shitter.
  • Though I enthusiastically support laughing at your own jokes (I kind of have to), not sure I'm as pumped for a comedian that doesn't understand what's funny.
  • I'm not sure I've ever cringed harder than that scene at the children's hospital. *shudder* Okay, the whole movie is one super-long cringe, but that might have been the most cringe-y cringe of all-time.
  • Well, until he rolled into Domino's apartment that is. *boils water* *dunks face for relief*
  • First Home Alone 2, and now he gets to play Thomas Wayne? What the f--k, man. I'm getting real tired of seeing Donald Trump getting all these cameos. 
  • Holy shit, that glass door came out of NOWHERE.
  • Murray Franklin is kind of a f--king prick, right? I'm not sure what he's worse at, judging character or going to commercial, but for f--k's sake, man, what are you trying to do here? (put me down for thinking this whole exchange as never even occurring) 
  • Why were the Wayne's out during an all-out riot? Were they trying to de-traumatize Bruce...with more trauma? I'm not sure that's how it works. 
  • And finally, good or bad, I'm not sure I get all the hype. This is what audiences were clamoring for?  A weird f--king dude, dancing around in the tattered remains of his underwear? Wow. Look, whatever you're into, that's cool. But almost a billion dollars? Dude. That's f--king crazy. 

If the first word that comes to mind after reading this entirely too-long blog post is f--k this guy and his stupid f--king website, well, last time I checked, that's more than one word. But if that's how you feel, I'm not mad at you. In fact, I'm a pretty forgiving person all things considered.

Just ask my brother.


  1. For me the script was an Absolute mess. What was even his illness? What were the effects of it? Because without knowing that the lack of critical thinking is one of them how am I supposed to feel sympathy for a guy who not only brings a gun to work but to a children hospital

    And for me the second to last scene glorifies him as does his rant about people being awful, they made this dude into Robin Hood. The biggest issue was that he had no charisma at all, whatever the fuck Leto was doing at least he was dangerous and charismatic enough for you to believe he could have followers. This one fucking shot a wall by accident while dancing in his underwear

    1. Outside of his card, I don't know what his illness is...but I'm not sure it even matters. He's unstable. Being forgetful...or clueless...or whatever he was...didn't change how I felt for him (he had my sympathy during the gun he didn't intend for it to go down that way, right?)

      I don't know how valid that scene was? Was that how he saw it? That 'eloquent' speech? I have been on the other ends of those too many times to tell you...and I often wonder if the person saying them is actually hearing my version or theirs? I think the only people who thought that went well would be people that are troubled themselves....

      He doesn't have ANY charisma. At all. (so I fully understand your point about how this guy could possibly be a leader) I thought maybe the mob identified more with the clown comment/costume than Fleck himself. But maybe his speech made a difference? Maybe he was others? (this isn't handled well, I'm with you).

      I can't tell you how hard I laughed at your last line!!!

  2. I agree so much with your last point. This movie is completely over-hyped and nowhere near as dark and edgy as it wants to be. The fact that it's making so much money is bonkers.

    1. It doesn't make a lot of sense - the success - but shit, half the time the things I do expect to make money don't, and vice versa.

      I'm really curious as to what we get because of this movie's success...

  3. I think I liked this movie far more than others. For some reason, I guess maybe the time I was watching this, after the year I've had, it hurt me. But like in a good way? I can't explain it as I can't justify Fleck's actions but this movie for me simply worked.
    But with so much hate towards it, I felt like I wasn't ready to defend it because I'm just not strong enough to receive hate for liking something. Because I don't think this movie is for everyone, and it's hard to defend something that is so deeply rooted in an unlikable character.

    1. I liked it, too. A lot more than I thought I would.

      I hear you. Obviously Fleck is not a good person, but he didn't start out that way. At least, not that I remember. Hell, it's been so long, I'm not even sure anymore...other than the fact that I enjoyed unsettling and jarring as it was.

  4. This was an absolute mess for me. I did laugh at one joke though, when De Niro’s character was making fun of Arthur and played that clip when Arthur said something like “they said I couldn’t be a comedian. Who’s laughing now?” I still laugh if I think about it lol

    1. Hahaha...I know! I've read enough of your tweets to no that you absolutely loathed this one!

      It's going to be an interesting awards season, seeing where this one falls. I really liked it (I don't think 'like' is the right word, but you know what I mean), but I won't be mad in the least if it gets shut out of everything.

      But if it gets nominated for some big stuff? Oh boy.