Is Joker Actually ‘About’ Anything? | The Big Picture

Is Joker Actually ‘About’ Anything? | The Big Picture


So. For those of you who are feeling possibly
confused as to how exactly this month’s two-a-week show schedule “works”: On Tuesdays,
regular episodes of The Big Picture. On Thursdays, special Halloween-themed episodes
for Schlocktober. Why are we talking about Joker again already? Because I didn’t really want to… but I
also kind of… do…? Anyway, Thursday’s show is nuts so, stay
tuned for that too: Anyway! So Joker made a bunch of money at the box-office
over the weekend which is being treated as a “surprise” for purposes of further marketing
as though the idea that a movie about probably the second most popular character in one of
the most popular franchises the most popular movie genre on the planet for the last decade
of human history pulling a big number opening uncontested in early fall is some kind of
miraculous “unexpected victory” for the film and its fans against the overwhelming
adversary of… marginally divided reviews from professional critics and some scattered
overhyping of random concern trolling in the national media… [gibberish] “A fitting end for you Joker.” …which (you may recall) turned bizarrely political when director Todd Philips (previously
best known for Road Trip, The Hangover Trilogy and the feature adaptation of Starsky and
Hutch) stated that his making the film was inspired by traditional comedy having been
killed by quote-unquote “woke culture” and later pinned negative reviews on “The
Far Left.” So there’s a certain irony in one of his
film’s most passionate defenders turning out to be left-wing activist and documentarian
Michael Moore (of all people!) …who took to Instagram after a screening
for the film at the New York Film Festival to declare that he had “witnessed a cinematic masterpiece”
and that contrary to the supposed societal dangers posed by the film: “The greater
danger to society may be if you don’t go see this movie. Because the story it tells and the issues
it raises are so profound, so necessary, that if you look away from the genius of this work
of art, you will miss the gift of the mirror it is offering us.” In a subsequent post, Moore would further
elaborate: “Joker” makes it clear we don’t really want to get to the bottom of this,
or to try to understand why innocent people turn into Jokers after they can no longer
keep it together. No one wants to ask why two smart boys skipped
their 4th-hour AP French Philosophy class at Columbine High to slaughter 12 students
and a teacher. No one would dare ask why the son-” Uh, yeah… Mike, I’m gonna cut you off right there? Cuz… yeah, we actually do know why the two
kids at Columbine “did it.” Because they made videos and wrote it down
in journals beforehand. But anyway… the fact that I was overwhelmingly
certain that Joker was not, in fact, “about” the things Moore was ascribing to it in any
meaningful way (those of you who’ve seen my review of the film know, of course, that
I was not a fan) for me only served to highlight one of it’s most curious qualities: That
it’s a film comprised almost entirely of surface level texture – aesthetics, visual
cues, references to other movies, references to real-world events of the past and present,
needle-drop soundtrack cues, auditory mood notes, allusions to contemporary social topics
and politics – but with all of them decoupled from any inherent meaning they’d typically
possess and none of it unified by any cohesive theme. In other words, a movie that in certain key
points looks or feels like it has something to say or might even be about something but
in fact isn’t really about anything – even though it seems to have wanted to be and occasionally
sounds like it’s saying something… but then isn’t. To fully “get at” what I’m saying requires
describing basically the plot of the film and its major events so, as quickly as possible: This version of “The Joker” starts out a guy named Arthur Fleck who is poor and miserable
because he suffers from a neurological condition of initially unknown origin that causes him
to suffer fits of uncontrolled laughing in inappropriate situations. He lives alone in an economically-stagnant
1980s Gotham City with his ailing mother, works part time as a clown and dreams of becoming
a stand-up comedian and performing on the popular locally-recorded “Murray Franklin”
Late-Night Talk Show. During a particularly bad series of events,
Arthur shoots and kills three mean drunken investment bankers from the Wayne Enterprises
corporation who are bullying him on the subway, which seems to trigger the beginning of a
psychotic break that gives him the confidence to pursue a romantic relationship with his
pretty neighbor. Because Arthur was wearing his clown makeup,
it also creates an “urban legend” of an anti-greed killer-clown vigilante hunting
down Gotham’s 1%, which inspires billionaire Thomas Wayne to run for Mayor on a law and order platform and in turn inspires an underclass-revolution clown-mask protest movement. Arthur subsequently learns that his mother
used to work for Thomas Wayne, had an affair with him and that Arthur is actually Wayne’s
illegitimate son! But when he confronts both Wayne and actual
records about this, it turns out that Arthur’s mom was severely mentally-ill, hallucinated
the relationship, adopted Arthur to make her fantasy feel more real and neglected him being
violently abused by her “real” partners, causing the injuries that led to his neurological
damage. He also realizes that he himself has been
hallucinating the romance with his neighbor and learns that Murray Franklin
has used a video clip of him bombing at an open-mic comedy night as the subject of mockery
on his show – causing him to snap, murder his mother and finally adopt the identity
of The Joker… …agreeing to appear as a guest on the Franklin
show with the aim of committing an on-air suicide, he is instead riled up by surprising
positive reaction by the audience (and an outside mob of clown-masked protesters) to
his off-the-cuff rant against the madness of society that he murders Murray instead. Finally, when a police cruiser taking him
to jail is destroyed and Arthur himself is rescued and revived by the army of clowns
now destroying the city, “The Joker” strikes a triumphant pose as not far away one of his
self-declared acolytes stalks The Wayne Family into an alley and shoots Thomas and Martha
dead so that Bruce can begin his journey toward becoming Robert Pattinson like 2 years from
now. The end. [Bruce] “Golly thanks for taking me to the movie in this dangerous neighborhood, Dad. “Whoa, stop. You can’t go down there!” “That is crime alley you dumb, dumbs.” [gunfire and screaming] So… as you might now have surmised: There
are a lot of different angles from which to point out that this movie is… Extremely dumb in a way that makes the self-seriousness with which it takes itself a particularly bad approach – the wrong notes, played in the loudest
key all the way through. You could literally start your “what the
hell went wrong with Joker doctoral analysis with a hundred different ways and they’d all lead to the same breakdown. But since I don’t have all day, I’ll use
the one that jumps out at me the most clearly: Why does this movie takes place in the 1980s? [clock ticking] And I don’t mean minor annoying stuff like
how there’s no way Arthur Fleck is on seven psychiatric medications in the mid-80s and
not basically comatose all the time because prescription-strength was a whole other context
back then and their imposing a 2019 opioid/psych-medication context on an 80s setting or how a huge plot point turns on what’s essentially a video clip “going viral” which just didn’t
happen like this back then… I’m talking about the why of these issues. See, setting a movie “out of time” especially
into the recent past is a big undertaking – it’s probably where most of this movie’s $55
million budget went: “It’s not about money. It’s about sending a a message. You have to change backgrounds, use different lighting, dress sets
down to tiny details, get old cars, old clothes, old TV and video clips, match reference photos,
digitally-alter skylines if it’s a real location, all kinds of stuff – so there’s
usually a specific reason it has to be done, a point that the story is making or a portion
of the narrative that can only be conveyed or make sense in that temporal context; usually
of a socio-political or historical reference point. But, basically none of Joker’s socio-political
reference points have any connection to the historical context they’re juxtaposed with
– and neither does that juxtaposition provide any meaningful counter-context: The anti-rich-people
clown mobs are a Jokerified mash-up of “Occupy Wall Street” and “Anonymous,” both of
which were phenomenons of the early 2000s – they don’t make sense transposed into
what we’re (I guess?) supposed to take as an otherwise similar recreation of a 1980s
city environment because urban mass violence flashpoints in the 80s
were almost always about racial tension to one degree or another, and there’s no context
given in the movie for anything happening that’s making Gotham’s situation different. Speaking of which, the lone specific
historical allusion in the film is about that very thing: Joker’s first killing on the
subway and elevation to folk hero status by the media is a clear evocation of the 1984 “Bernie
Goetz Shootings,” wherein a white guy named… that, shot 4 black teenagers he claimed tried
to rob him on a New York subway and (eventually) surrendered to police claiming self defense
but was later revealed to have said a bunch of really really suspicious racist stuff leading up to it and also the kids were maybe just panhandling and the whole thing was a huge scandalous mess, but that happened after the media had already spent months writing about a “Heroic Subway Vigilante!!! “I don’t like the twist this joke is taking.” And so, Joker’s seemingly “edgy” maneuver
of evoking this infamous event, cutting out its distinctly 1980s race-politics and substituting
the visual-language of 2019 class politics allows it say…? [crickets chirping] It’s the same
way that Arthur’s issues with cuts to his social services and medication have the look
of an 80s health-care system but are presented in a manner that’s all about 2019’s various
prescription/addiction opioid crises, or the viral-video thing; which is trying (badly) to plug a critique
of present-day social-media shaming of ordinary people into an incompatible era where the
big concern about media privacy was paparazzi and celebrity tabloid obsessions – Using cheesy
references to a movie from that era about that thing!
A movie that was, of course, a “thematic reunion” feature for the director and star of the other
movie that Joker takes its the bulk of it’s late-70s/early-80sreference cues from (and very much wants you to be thinking of) at all times: Taxi Driver – because that’s a great film (perhaps the
great film) about an alienated loner losing his grip on reality and turning to violent
power fantasies in an unfeeling urban hellscape, it created the universally-understood “language”
of such films and while Joker may be running on fumes – those fumes are the understanding
that if it can recite that language phonetically it doesn’t need to understand or
speak it. [Joker yelling indistinctly] And that is what I mean by this movie not
really being “about” anything because it’s all texture with nothing under it:
Arthur’s big speech sounds and is directed and staged like a big important scene where
something meaningful gets said in “a movie like this at this point” “See, this is a…the scene in the movie where you help me out.” …but he doesn’t
really say anything. There are riots where the action and score
tell us “Society has broken down!” …but we don’t really know what “not broken”
meant in this world. It’s grimy and edgy and poised on the edge
of urban-apocalypse like early-80s movies were… but without any of the authentic real-world-outside-the-theater context those movies were feeding off of. It’s just an echo, a reference, the equivalent of an old-time video filter on a photo app. And what little semblance of a point it does
offer to make contradicts what little text it actually has: Arthur all but bellows that
“society” turned him into The Joker, but we and he just got done finding out that it
was actually just his mother that was primarily responsible for like 90% of what’s happened
to him and he killed her for it. In fact, if you pull out the ultimately meaningless
references to other movies and comic-book easter eggs and ignore that filmmakers
and Warner Bros marketing have claimed the movie is about and just went by what’s onscreen;
you might conclude that “Joker” is a just straightforward if pointedly extra-misogynist
serial-killer drama about how the abused, infantilized Arthur belated achieves psychotic
“manhood” as the confident, swaggering “Joker” by escaping and killing the controlling abusive mother figure who’d infantilized him in the first place. Now, I don’t know if that the movie that intended to make, but that’s kinda the movie they made. “Whoa” Now look – this is not like a “take two”
of my Joker review where I basically said it was mediocre and too empty to be “upset
about” or doubling down or anything else: I sincerely felt that the manner in which
the film managed to be self-righteously… “bland” was worthy of more in-depth elaboration and this was that. I also don’t think it was a film made lazily
or with cynical intent: It’s very possible that all of these less-than-functional decisions, that I observed, were made with high-minded intentions and that Todd Philips etc. and the other filmmakers have very detailed heartfelt explanations for each one. But… thing about explanations is, well… you
wanna take this one, Mr. J? “If you have to explain a joke, there is no joke!” I’m Bob and that’s The Big Picture.

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  1. I find it appropriate how Bob's escapist content on Zombieland 2 and Joker are following each other up at the time of writing in that it's all well & good grabbing ideas from other places, but… Well… You've gotta Do something with them. Not just draw spooky clown makeup over it & hope people don't notice where other films and done it better so they'll probably just… Watch those instead. Still, it'll be interesting to see how next decade's Batman reboot will go now it's fairly obvious Pattinson's portrayal won't be anything like Bale or Affleck's

  2. Jeez man. Sometimes it’s just better to accept what the movie is and not try to moan how it should have been something else.

  3. I'm sure others have said this, but as someone who has been poisoned by quite a few meds, and I do mean poisoned, I feel for this guy. I'm dealing with the repercussions still of Reagan's dementia filled policies towards mental health. To look at the movies view on meds as a parallel to the opioid crisis now is just wrong. I have some serious mental illness that has had at least a dozen different meds thrown at it and none of them worked, and a few messed me up physically, permanently. Now the issue is, people look at this movie and say, "Oh so he's off meds and hes crazy? MEDS FOR ALL THE CRAZIES!!!" When in actuality the issue is, off meds I'm weird, but I'm not dangerous. And people who hear what my illness is, 99.9% of the time, immediately make a flash judgment about me because of things they've seen in garbage movies or heard in the media. And it's sad.

  4. I just really like that it wasn't to focused on shouting a message or not even pinning down it down to one thing. It was a great Joker film, a good drama with entertaining and well directed moments so it can perfetly fill it's runtime without being a solution to problems it's not a part of. It's okay that it takes place in the 80s, then it's fits the comic's setting better, than the 2019 issues people try so hard to pin on it.

  5. Remember to keep it civil, guys. It's all a matter of personal oppinion. I'm coming to this a few days later and I'm surprised it's not more toxic. Then again, people on the internet exaggerate things a lot.

    I saw this movie, and wasn't quite sure what it was trying to say. The closest thing to a message that I could figure out was "Mentally ill people need to be helped, but not because they're people. They need to be helped because they will kill people if you don't help them."

  6. I think there's a really stupid and simple reason why the movie is set in the 80s: so the next batman movie takes place whenever they want it.

  7. 7:09 – No context for what's making Gotham different?
    The background of garbage strikes not seem like a big deal? Or the "clown" insult Wayne uses being the reason the movement adopted the masks much akin to people taking ownership of Hillary's deplorables comment?? Maybe 1981 is an odd year for some of this stuff, and the time period could've been more vague or less important like Batman Animated series, but you've actively ignored some pretty basic parts of the setting.

  8. Like half the things you said were factually wrong… and I'm not talking about your opinion I'm talking about your description of the movie…

  9. Critics are such failures. Why do people listen to them? I could easily debunk everyone of MovieBob's arguments with the rebuttal "IT'S A FICTIONAL UNIVERSE, A-HOLE."

    Also, I think part of MovieBob's inability to understand this movie is due to his unwillingness to empathize with the character. He's far more concerned with how he can argue against the movie, as if he were having a debate with it. It's almost as if he wanted the movie to make a very clear sociopolitical point that he disagreed with, but came out with little to argue against, so he instead criticized the movie as being "about nothing."

  10. I'm sorry, but if you walked away from this movie thinking "mIsOgYnY", I can't accurately express in one comment how retarded you really are.

  11. The most important thing we can learn from Joker is: If you take Batman out of Joker, you end up with a boring white guy whose not funny, violent, and has plot immunity.

    …greeeeeeaaaaat.

  12. If you talk extra fast…..that equals more intelligent. Right? But to be fair, not more wise.

    So you say 1980s Gotham "doesn't make sense". Okay. So tell me, what state is Gotham in? Where does it exist in America? Hm? It's not fictional….is it? 😮 Because if it is, then 1980s context would have no bearing on how it presents in the movie.

    Anyway look, if you really think the movie is dumb, you're missing the point. It's simple, yeah sure. But it's meant to be. That's the point. This movie is genius at play, from its acting to its underplayed tones and story, it complements itself so well across all categories, it really doesn't hit a hurdle at any stage, it's awesome. At some level, everyone has to see some glimmer of that excellence in the movie, even at the minor level. Those who don't, I feel are being deliberately contrarian.

  13. Just saw the film…….yeah
    I get jokers crazy but it feels like an excuse to be lazy i guess(dont want to say much else of this film)
    Overall its not too enjoyable for me
    Its funny that the fanboys who dislike cause opinion differs are like the thugs that beat up fleck
    The other irony is while wb made something technically different its still a cheap cash in
    Now the real question is y is deniro in this movie? Its a small role that anyone could have done

  14. Ugh. I can well believe this critique is credible once I learn the director just wanted to antagonize "woke" culture because liberals get mad guys.
    That's such a fucking stupid motivation to make a movie. So color me unsurprised that the movie has no message. Yes turns out you have to put in more effort than a 4-chan hipster in a Guy Fawkes mask.

  15. So its like a lesser v for vendetta ,machinists, American psycho
    Its looks like a certain film but its generic and average like most movies
    Its like an indie a bad one

  16. He's not poor and miserable becuase of his condition, he's poor and miserable becuase he's uneducated and doesn't seek better employment or better friendships

  17. I am so confused by this and your point of view. It sounds like every negative thing you said was actually the positives of the movie. Like you are a mirror image of yourself ad saying everything opposite.

    Joker is delusional, most of everything he saw was warped. he had no plan and was literally a walking contradiction, that was the point

  18. The joker is a parody of left wing "victims", the Joker's life isn't nearly as bad as the framing of the movie (Which is told from his perspective as an unreliable narrator) makes it out to be, it's painting the path of how viewing yourself as a victim can lead to you justifying horrific actions. It seems dumb and pointless becuase the people who think this way are dumb and have no point.

  19. Random nonsense wrapped up with a pretty bow. Comic nerds will think it's profound and artsy. Then they will get triggered if you point out that it's a dumb script.

  20. Considering how deep and emotional audiences found Endgame…of course they think this is the best ever. Most audiences have never seen King of Comedy and Taxi Driver, so they fall for this nonsense plot.

  21. It's about a mentally ill man searching for identity and purpose and continually getting rejected and beaten down by society. And when he can't find a positive identity to fit in , he chooses to say fuck everything and finds his power by being Joker and killing. And in the meantime a large number of disenfranchised people feel like they can relate and they make a hero out of him because they misinterpret killing the wallstreet guys was in support of their cause when truly Joker just likes killing and would kill rich or poor people like him. I'd like to think the scene on the talk show is Joker pretending to care about society to win over the audience and speak to the protesters in a attempt to get what he truly wants , to be seen and loved. The l"we live in a society " generic lines weren't supposed to sound smart or profound.

  22. While it might never say it in the movie, my theory about "why" this is in the 80's is because the end clearly shows "joker" in a mental house. I would go with the theory the doctor was trying to "break" the joker persona and get to "Arthur" to find out WHO he really was, how he came to be, etc etc because we all know joker has no real origin. So with maybe over thinking this:

    Joker (perhaps not present time but, late 90s lets say?) is in the mental house being drugged/interviewed by the doctor. In this 'fantasy" he is telling, he clearly "laughs" but it is pained because he is being drugged and that "persona" is being suppressed to make the fantasy move forward and try to get to 'Arthur". But because joker (mentally at least) is who he is the fantasy "breaks apart" with him killing someone and finding a REASON he can't have the drugs (in a sense tricking his own mind to "break free") So rather then tell a story about who he is or how he came to be, the whole thing was a "joke you just wouldn't get" (as he said to the doctor as they flashed to Bruce) because he was telling the story of how BATMAN came to be and not his self (Maybe directly he knows bruce is batman as some comics suggest or maybe just by coincidence) And that is the joke: The whole thing was fake, a fantasy of an origin story but indirectly told the origin of his greatest rival from events of that Era. Joker – "If im going to have a past I prefer it be multiple choice!" And again maybe the above is just me REALLY over thinking the movie and the above holds no ground..but again just my thoughts.

  23. The Joker is about being ignored. You have to do mental gymnastics to avoid noticing. Wisecrack made an infinitely better video on this topic. They analyzed the movie instead of trying impose their preconceptions.

  24. your right escapist, they should have set this movie in the 30s, and made batman exist in the 50s, the way the original batman was… that is much better… then we can go and fix all the other time lines in all the other tv shows too.. that will solve everything… and lets assume everything is crystal clear… every crime is the result of peoples choices and not that their choices are the results of suffering and not wanting to suffer anymore… thank you escapist for escaping the films story and reason for existing

  25. Getting so tired of the “my mom is abusive so now I’m a murderer” trope. Like, so was mine, and I have too much empathy to harm anyone or anything. Trauma doesn’t often make you violent or aggressive, it makes you skittish and hyper aware. For once I’d love to see a triumphant story of a character overcoming their trauma without resorting to psychosis or sociopathy. Also, it would be cool if in a mainstream movie it could be anyone but another damaged white dude being seen as a symbol of hope, justice, or revolution for the downtrodden.

  26. That's kind of why I don't like giving movies credit for being about something when most of their message is just abstract implication. The emotional power of movie magic can make viewers feel like there was a message there without risking whatever message alienating people who don't like it and aren't in the mood for heavy stuff.

    Like without any thesis statement or textual proof, so many messages end up being the product of apophenia from people thirsty for meaning to engage with, while the industry endeavors to stay safely neutral and meaningless.

  27. The newest offering from DC and WB is made by angry white fuckboys for angry white fuckboys. It's the inspiring tale of one brave angry white fuckboy and his quest to become an angrier, whiter, fuckboy. All so that he can one day take down "The Man!" and "The System!"

  28. Some criticisms.
    The early 80s setting is clearly a reference to neoliberal budget cuts under Reagan. His social worker says that their budget is cut and they won't be able to meet any more. There's also a garbage strike happening in the background, suggesting they don't get paid enough either.

    And Michael Moore's point was about how people become fascists, not about how fascists go on to commit acts of violence. Nobody is born a fascist, so it's worthwhile talking about how people get there in the first place.

  29. I didn't see the film as taking place in the 80's, it seemed like a more nebulous, slightly anachronistic time that was simultaneously everywhen from 1920-1980. Maybe it's just because I didn't experience the 80's, and so the immediate comparisons elude me, but it seems like you harp on that for a while when I'm not sure how relevant it is to the themes of the film.

    Not that I really think there is a major theme other than "Poor people mad"

  30. I like that having two episodes a week means that you don’t only do Shlocktober in October. It’s nice to see variety in what you discuss.

  31. I haven't watched 'Joker' and shall avoid this video for the time being. However since I usually enjoy your content, I will drop a like anyways and run the video on mute on my phone for algorithms sake.

  32. I mean, if Gotham is such a shit-hole, how is 3 rich dudes getting murdered such a sensation? The way Joker became famous felt forced. Like it had to happen for the movie to work.

    Like, why would he ever be put on a televised comedy show? Why would he ever get invited to the Talk Show of his literal fantasy? If people saw a clown gun down those business-men, how did Joker escape? Why the fuck is Tom Wayne a bad guy? Because he's rich? The movie tells us to hate the rich people but I don't understand why.

    The movie expects us to jump into the world where everyone is against the 1%…but it does a bad job setting it up.

    Loved the rest of the movie, though.

  33. I haven’t seen it myself, but when i compare it to the lego batman movie, i ask myself “why bother when the perfect batman film already exists”

  34. Joker is really about living as a neurodiverse in a neurotypical world.

    As someone with high functioning autism it really hit a note with me (not including the psychotic violence of course).

  35. The mass of unlikes is very evident of the Snyderbros coming alongside anti-establishment lefties trying to defend a shallow movie with equally shallow arguments. The film takes place in the early 80s because the movies its refrencing take place in that timeframe and its a deliberate call back to that. It's the only reason, trying to insert more meaning into that stylistic choice (Reagan, AIDs, Mental Health, etc.) is fruitless. The movie doesn't comment on any of that, it just uses those touchpoints in the thinest of senses and moves on from them. Even the Thomas Wayne is Reagan connection doesn't work because he's not the villain the film originally sets him up to be… also he dies before ever getting elected. So how does that even fit with the analogy? If you like the movie, fine, but don't pretend its any deeper than it actually is.

  36. Maybe the point of the movie is that ,like with joker’s actions on the subway and the movement it sparks, it doesn’t matter what the original intentions were.if the movie sparks a dialogue about mental illness, then it doesn’t matter if that was the director’s intention or not

  37. … shit, i loved that movie before ive watched this but now knowing what its trying to reference… its not a cry of a lower class angry at the rich for taking away every systematic option for them to progress in life and scornfully ignoring anyone that tries to slightly progress upwards from their bad start in life. its a whiny auteure crying about how he doesnt get all the appreciation he thinks he deserves. still great cinematography tho

  38. As Alexander Linn pointed out, there might be more actual American historical mirrors as a reason for it to be set in the 80's than I know of.

    I'm not American, but my interpretation of why the film was set in the 80's was because things that happen in the movie are happening now in Our society. If it had been set in 2019, it would have been regarded as just a direct criticism of our current society, while setting it in the 80's gives it a somewhat "distant" feeling, and it invokes these ideas about our society today, rather than outright just saying them (about today). (You can of course argue how "well" these things are being said though, sometimes intent does not mean execution.)

    I'm sure the people of the US (but also the rest of the world by this point) are familiar with the 1% ruling class not really caring that much about the poor, mentally ill or homeless; cutting funding to social offices and psychiatrists that perscribe medication to people who are dependent on it to function. At least, to me, it doesn't seem like this is much of a stretch when it comes to interpreting what the film is about. It's presenting a "worst case scenario" of what could happen if (when) the people with power simultaneously insult the poor and take away the medication of the mentally ill, effectively creating an angry and unwell mob that has nothing else to lose anymore.
    That kind of crowd might look for a spark to set them off, and someone to function as their "leader", and in this film it just so happened to be "Arthur Fleck", or more accurately: Joker that did both those things.

    These are just my thoughts on the movie, as you can probably tell, I like Heath Ledger's Joker a Lot, but I think that Phoenix's is a completely different version of the character. In any case, I like that this film exists because of this kind discussion: it's really interesting to hear what different people think about it. 🙂

  39. I haven't seen the movie & it sounds fine, but it doesn't sound like it understands how real world psychos happen, but decided to fall on the same broken ideas our culture like to tell it's self. We do study real world psychos when apprehended, but we don't look at those studies.
    We like to say because of mental illness, but how many people have study that material. While crime bosses, are are most likely highly functional human beings.

  40. 2:13 He didn't say "we don't know why the Columbine killers did it", he said "We don't want to try to understand them." @Escapist you chose to mischaracterize your subject, and then act angry and righteous towards the fake argument you created. It seems like you're the only outrage culture here.

  41. I have to call bull on the idea that this film wasn't going to make money. It isn't like Captain Marvel, which was connected to a bigger story (even though it wasn't) and had an inbuilt fanbase that goes to every Marvel film regardless of quality. Joker is a popular character but when this film was announced everybody, including myself, dismissed it as not being a "real" Joker film.

    Anyway, I don't know what the film was trying to be about but I'll tell you what it wasn't about…The Joker. I mean the last ten minutes or so when he finally puts the makeup on and starts killing people is great and all but god was the rest of the film boring. That being said I'd be on board for this version of the Joker in a real super hero film cause it's a pretty good performance.

  42. 1980 was when Reagan was elected. Reagan was when the beginning of Neoliberal economic programs that abandoned public mental health and began the war on drugs began. You were too busy buying ghostbuster toys and watching Masters of the Universe to notice.

    Godzillia is a series that have dozens of entries about nothing and you praised the latest US flick with a direct contradiction in the plot, so stop these double standards.

  43. Went to see the movie. Gotta say, this review is trash.

    The film is obviously criticizing society a lot. Nitpicking at the timeframe in a fictional universe is not exactly the strongest criticism. And if there is something that came off strong in the movie, it is that life for more and more people is starting to make less sense and some are actually starting to see it as nothing but a comedy (cue clownworld memes).

    Pretending that it is not touching upon any issues we can relate to is underhanded and outright sad. Sad attempt by people who wish to pretend that everything is fine.

  44. Don’t forget Old School. Todd Phillips is most known for hangover and old school. War Dogs wasn’t terrible either

  45. I didn't see the movie, and don't plan to, but the Goetz observation is a little troubling. Where you end on a question mark, I think Phillips is trying to answer 'blaming investment bankers is like blaming black people'. That the over medicated and mentally ill vigilantes blame society and its members for their own failures, drawing a link between the murdering racists of the 80s and contemporary rioting occupy/antifa agitators. A link that I personally believe is unfair, but you'd have to be REALLY forgiving to not notice it as the answer to the question mark you present.

  46. When I see interpretations like this one, I wonder if they're born out of ignorance, delusion, or outright intent to mislead. One way or another, ol' Bob's review here is almost completely misleading.

  47. Yeah. This is the one in 10,000 times where somebody is just objectively wrong in appraising art [Like if you said the Mona Lisa was portrait of Snarf from the first person perspective]; Joker wasn't very good and it wasn't mind altering but Moviebob is just sticking to his opinion because Moviebob hates validating internet trolls [who do love Joker]. Still wrong Bob: the movie had a point. Oh, and Bob if high school kids aren't old enough for me to drink with or F#(K or generally take seriously; why the Hell should we take the Columbine killers' Nazi love at face value? We shouldn't wonder what outside their minds drove them to become such monsters? Just to be clear I was alive and fully sentient in the 90's and can confirm all that Moviebob presented here related to the Columbine shooters [and Michael Moore] is true; I'm just challenging the idea that a violent psychopath would accurately explain themselves – honestly, sure but not accurately.

  48. Like ratio is 2k, dislike is 1.1 thousand. Also bob is scared the world is disagreeing with his pool of woke friends.

  49. Avenger's (any) absolutely nothing about this makes any since at all but that's not only ok it's good.

    Joker same problems and it's not ok and bad.

    Yea……your really smert Orange U

  50. I read the clown riot stuff as the Disco Demolition derby (hence Rock and roll part 2). I think you're ignoring the class and conflict of the 1970s, which this movie evokes just as much as the 80s.

  51. Yeah no, in this case I trust the professional critics in my country, that have the skills to analyse it and weren't influenced by some stupid drama as was the case for professional critics in the US.
    Anyway virtually all of them liked this movie and thought it had a lot to say, so the oppinions of some "Bob", even one whos's other real legal first name happens to be "Movie" doesn't hold much weight.
    I won't watch it anyway, but I'm sure it's a great movie I'll nevewr watch.

  52. Wasnt the whole problem in the 80s that while most Upper class people were happy and the lower class were unhappy, but they didnt have the political push to do anything about it? The Aids crisis came from the poor and sick being ignored by the people who slashed the funding for programs that would help them.
    Also you dont see how maybe a society that allowed a man to be beaten up and bullied in broad daylight, that saw no problem with trash piling up in the city as long as it was the poor section, that let a little boy who was adopted by and subsequently beaten close to death multiple times by a mentally unstable woman be kept by that woman could drive someone crazy?
    I just dont understand your argument. It feels like you went into it going "The director is a dick and how is that reflected in the movie?"

  53. Hey, what I took away from the movie was the Joker was a cringy, even if sympathetic, villain which no one would want to be. The message to me was even if you've had it rough going to extremes like what Joker did (reminiscent of people resorting to mass shootings in the real world) is never justified and not what a hero would do. Joker isn't even cool while doing it, he's comedic and tragic at the same time, somehow, in how much of a loser he is, again much like the profiles of mass shooters when you actually look into who these people are. The movie may be trying to implicate young angry men on the left and the right by putting a spotlight on loner losers and antifa-like individuals. I'm ok with the movie if this was the intent for it's good for society if this is primarily the message people received.

    And one more point, I don't think the movie is misogynist just because the mother is the root of the issue since what she did would've been universally condemned. Like, she really did do something horrible to Joker, but again Joker resorting to killing her is not justified, but you can almost sympathize. Lol, it's an interesting movie.
    Also, let's not presume intent on the creator's subconscious to the point that anyone who creates a female character as despicable as Joker's mother is automatically a misogynist. K?

  54. Hm. Thanks for this video. I've always wondered what life looked like when you're a movie critic whose head is shoved deep up your own ass.

  55. On the other hand, from the perspective of a Joker who "prefers [his] past to be multiple choice", this could just be one story he's making up, with elements of truth and vast segments of fiction.

  56. It hurts to see a smart guy like Bob being so intent on hating this movie that he misunderstands so much about it, seemingly on purpose. It's like all he wants is for all the Joker fanboys to swarm his videos to inflate his view count.

    (Remembers the video Bob posted on the day it came out opening with "Hey, don't hate me Joker fanboys, but I didn't like this movie much. But, since I don't want all you Joker fanboys to hate me too much, I'll say it's 5/10!)

    …Yeah, I think that's exactly what's going on. How's that working out for him?

  57. Why does this movie take place in the 1980's:

    "Because the era, specifically the Early 1980's, which feels much more like the 1970's, and its myriad issues: stagflation, rising income inequality, massive cuts to social services both prefaced our own era and hold up a mirror to the issues we are facing today.

    Also 1981 is the year Ronald Reagan cut mental health funding.

    But sure, pretend your rhetorical question doesn't have an answer.

  58. So you're saying that 1980's Gotham in the movie doesn't match 1980's Gotham *in real life*? Say it ain't so!

    Also, are movies supposed to have a message? Is that what people have been reviewing movies on all these years? Can a movie not just be entertaining? Do thrillers or mysteries have messages in them? Can they not just be suspenseful? Are there deep messages hidden in all the other comic book movies that people seem to enjoy instead of them just being entertaining stories with characters they love?

    What happened to finding your own meaning in things? If it beat you over the head with a specific message, would it then be good? Or would you have to agree with the message for it to be good? If it's a message you've heard before (the power of friendship can overcome anything!), is it now a bad movie because the message isn't original?

    Can we not just say that you had arbitrary expectations for this movie that it didn't meet and/or it just didn't work for your personal suspension of disbelief?

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