Joker

Yupo

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Has anyone seen Joker yet? I understand it is a study of psychopathy. Our subject has been abused and lied to by mentally ill parents. Very good reviews by people I respect. Have not seen it myself.
 

Niall

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Stefan Molyneux has seen it. He said it was like being churned for two hours in a cement truck filled with vomit.

I doubt it's a 'study' in anything. Just a condensed trip through the warped landscape of a criminal mind. It'll no doubt 'activate' some viewers. The US military is worried it'll cause violent incidents at theaters. There may not be such direct dramatic consequences, but it will certainly feed the rampant narcissistic nihilism that is going around.

Why immerse yourself in that when you see such minds on full display, via daily news, all around you?

I can already guess what the movie's angle is: "society made him that way."

:violin:
 

Yupo

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FOTCM Member
Stefan Molyneux has seen it. He said it was like being churned for two hours in a cement truck filled with vomit.

I doubt it's a 'study' in anything. Just a condensed trip through the warped landscape of a criminal mind. It'll no doubt 'activate' some viewers. The US military is worried it'll cause violent incidents at theaters. There may not be such direct dramatic consequences, but it will certainly feed the rampant narcissistic nihilism that is going around.

Why immerse yourself in that when you see such minds on full display, via daily news, all around you?

I can already guess what the movie's angle is: "society made him that way."

:violin:
Yes, that is the movie's angle. I have no plans to see it. Very sensitive to dark stuff lately. Cement truck filled with vomit. Ugh. Not going to forget that line. Starting to wonder what effect it might have had on cast members, being immersed in the vomit for so long.
 

Alejo

The Living Force
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I watched it and oh boy, it was intense... it’s a movie you ought not watch without some knowledge of the criminal mind and related work. If you know a bit about it, it may come across as a good depiction of it, which is sick so beware.

The most shocking moment was hearing so many people laughing at the movie theater in the most intense moments, that made me nervous.

I felt like saying out loud, guys this isn’t funny, it’s terrifying, which is what I think they were going for, but people just laughed... crazy!

***MILD SPOILERS***






I don’t think they were going for “society made him this way” I think they showed that as his excuse for doing something he always wanted to. The history of mental illness is clear and I believe at the end it’s clearly shown, society made me this way was his excuse, but the criminal aspect was always present.
 

whitecoast

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I don’t think they were going for “society made him this way” I think they showed that as his excuse for doing something he always wanted to. The history of mental illness is clear and I believe at the end it’s clearly shown, society made me this way was his excuse, but the criminal aspect was always present.
(Mild spoilers also) I saw this movie recently as well. And even though you can take a pretty direct reading of the film and blame his criminal mind, I think some of the framing of certain events in the movie were off-message in that respect. For example at the climax he blames society more or less directly for his criminal actions, but "society" when you look closely really just means people who have wronged him personally (and that criterion gets looser and looser the more the film progresses). There's plenty of "society" in the movie who agree with him and exhibit some strongly vindictive SJW "eat the rich" mentality in the movie. All those people wearing clown masks as a symbol of protest in the film seems to send a disturbing message a when you consider the person everyone was emulating. It's kind of like all those people who lionize Karl Marx in spite of not knowing anything about him and how lazy and entitled and schizoidal a person he was. If there's anything that society should be (constructively) criticized for, it's this. They're putting on one mask and taking another one off. :shock:

I did think it was interesting that Hollywood chose to take this kind of behavior and give it a gamergate/incel/altright aesthetic. It's like they're aware on some level of how destructive their own leftist ideas are, but they need to project those actions onto "the enemy".
 

Alejo

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I agree with you whitecoast,

I just exchanged a few messages with someone who went to watch the movie as well, and the only thing that this person told me was..”I see a lot of our societies problems in that movie” which to me felt dangerous, if there’s a wrong message from this movie is to see it as society is to blame for everything.
 
The "society made me do it" angle seems to be the prevailing interpretation. Interesting how the movie is enmeshed with the culture war since its inception.

Social commentary

Joker deals with the themes of mental illness and its effects,[130] and its depiction of the Joker has been described as reminiscent of those who commit mass shootings in the United States as well as members of the online incel community.[131][132] Vejvoda, Hammond, and The Guardian's Christina Newland interpreted the film as a cautionary tale—society's ignorance of those who are less fortunate will create a person like the Joker.[117][121][133] Stephen Kent, writing for The Washington Examiner, described Arthur Fleck as blending shared aspects of mass shooters, and interpreted its message as a reminder that society is riddled with men like the Joker.[131] Writing in People's World, Chauncey K. Robinson said the film "walks a fine line between exploration and validation" of Joker's character and is "ultimately an in-your-face examination of a broken system that creates its own monsters."[134]

Some writers have expressed concern that Joker's sympathetic portrayal of a homicidal maniac could inspire real-world violence.[135][136] Richard Lawson of Vanity Fair found the film was too sympathetic towards "white men who commit heinous crimes" and that the social-politics ideologies represented in the film are "evils that are far more easily identifiable" to people "who shoot up schools and concerts and churches, who gun down the women and men they covet and envy, who let loose some spirit of anarchic animus upon the world—there's almost a woebegone mythos placed on them in the search for answers."[137] Jim Geraghty of National Review wrote he was "worried that a certain segment of America's angry, paranoid, emotionally unstable young men will watch Joaquin Phoenix descending into madness and a desire to get back at society by hurting as many people as possible and exclaim, 'finally, somebody understands me!'"[138]

On September 18, 2019, the United States Army distributed an email warning service members of potential violence at theaters screening the film and noting the Joker character's popularity among the incel community. A separate memo revealed the Army received "credible" information from Texas law enforcement "regarding the targeting of an unknown movie theater during the release."[139] However, according to Deadline Hollywood, the FBI and the United States Department of Homeland Security have found no credible threats surrounding the release of the film.[140] In an interview with TheWrap, Phillips expressed surprise at the backlash, stating, "I think it's because outrage is a commodity, I think it's something that has been a commodity for a while [...] What's outstanding to me in this discourse in this movie is how easily the far left can sound like the far right when it suits their agenda. It's really been eye-opening for me."[141] Phoenix walked out of an interview by The Telegraph when asked if the film could inspire mass shooters. Following this, journalists were disinvited from the premiere at TCL Chinese Theatre, with only photographers being allowed to interact with the filmmakers and cast on the carpet. In a statement to Variety, Warner Bros. said that "A lot has been said about Joker, and we just feel it's time for people to see the film."[142][143][144]


‘Joker’ Director Todd Phillips Rebuffs Criticism of Dark Tone: ‘We Didn’t Make the Movie to Push Buttons’ (Exclusive)

Director Todd Phillips is pushing back on recent criticism that his upcoming film “Joker,” starring Joaquin Phoenix, might promote real-world violence.

“We didn’t make the movie to push buttons,” Phillips told TheWrap’s editor-in-chief, Sharon Waxman, in an interview last Friday about the filmmaking process. “I literally described to Joaquin at one point in those three months as like, ‘Look at this as a way to sneak a real movie in the studio system under the guise of a comic book film’. It wasn’t, ‘We want to glorify this behavior.’ It was literally like ‘Let’s make a real movie with a real budget and we’ll call it f–ing Joker’. That’s what it was.”

But the movie, which premiered at the Venice Film Festival in August and received an eight-minute standing ovation, is already kicking up controversy for its dark tone. The plot focuses on an irredeemable villain who escapes punishment. The film’s detractors say it creates an its all-too-realistic reminder of the angry loners who have been committing mass shootings in our country.

Though “Joker” has yet to hit theaters, film critics have already described its depictions of violence. In a scene described by TheWrap critic Alonso Duralde, Phoenix’s character incites a mob of protesters after a violent act on a subway. “But this act of violence makes Arthur feel seen for the first time,” he wrote.

Last week, families of victims killed in the 2012 mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, wrote a letter to Warner Bros., the studio behind ‘Joker,’ calling for donations to gun-victim charities because of the film “presents the character as a protagonist with a sympathetic origin story.” The mass shooting occurred during a showing of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises.” The shooter, James Holmes, was likened to Joker for his bleached orange hair and voicemail he left at a private-gun range a month before the mass murder.

Warner Bros. responded to the letter, saying that “Joker” was not meant as an endorsement of real-world violence.

“Gun violence in our society is a critical issue, and we extend our deepest sympathy to all victims and families impacted by these tragedies. Our company has a long history of donating to victims of violence, including Aurora, and in recent weeks, our parent company joined other business leaders to call on policymakers to enact bi-partisan legislation to address this epidemic,” a representative from Warner Bros. said in a statement on Tuesday. “At the same time, Warner Bros. believes that one of the functions of storytelling is to provoke difficult conversations around complex issues. Make no mistake: neither the fictional character Joker, nor the film, is an endorsement of real world violence of any kind. It is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero.”

A U.S. Army Base at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, has also warned about the film’s violence at an upcoming showing, saying in a memo to commanders Monday: “Commanders need to be aware of this threat for Soldier and family safety and to increase situational awareness should they choose to attend the release of this movie.”

To the issue of controversy over the movie, Phillips confesses confusion. “I’m surprised… Isn’t it good to have these discussions? Isn’t it good to have these discussions about these movies, about violence? Why is that a bad thing if the movie does lead to a discourse about it?”

Phillips thinks that people as a whole are waiting for a target they can pounce on — and “Joker” may be an obvious one. And in this case, it’s not about the right-wing targeting Hollywood movies over guns — it’s broader than that.

“I think it’s because outrage is a commodity, I think it’s something that has been a commodity for a while,” he said. “What’s outstanding to me in this discourse in this movie is how easily the far left can sound like the far right when it suits their agenda. It’s really been eye opening for me.”


Todd Phillips Blamed "Woke Culture" For Killing Comedy And Leading Him To Make "Joker"
By David Mack
The director of Old School, Road Trip, and The Hangover trilogy said stars don't want to offend people nowadays.
Posted on October 1, 2019, at 3:10 p.m. ET

Up until this year, Todd Phillips was best known for directing male-led comedies, but he says he decided to move into drama and make the Batman villain origin story Joker because he finds it difficult to be funny in "woke culture."
In a profile of Joker star Joaquin Phoenix published Tuesday in Vanity Fair, the director of the Old School, Road Trip, and The Hangover trilogy said he's now wary of what the magazine called "bro humor."
Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” Phillips said. “There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore — I’ll tell you why, because all the -flicking-g funny guys are like, ‘-flick- this shit, because I don’t want to offend you.’"
"It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter. You just can’t do it, right?" he added. "So you just go, ‘I’m out.’"

Phillips said the idea for Joker — an antihero comic book origin story in the vein of Taxi Driver set in a dark and gritty 1970s Gotham — stemmed from a desire to want to remain irreverent, but not funny.
"With all my comedies — I think that what comedies in general all have in common — is they’re irreverent," he said. "So I go, ‘How do I do something irreverent, but -flick- comedy? Oh I know, let’s take the comic book movie universe and turn it on its head with this.’ And so that’s really where that came from.”
Tuesday's Vanity Fair interview marked the second time in a week that Phillips had criticized left-wing politics as he promotes his film.
Addressing criticisms that the movie promotes a sympathetic origin story for male violence, as well concerns that it will be championed by so-called incels (i.e., misogynist "involuntary celibates" who blame women for not wanting to sleep with them), Phillips blamed the controversy around the movie on the "far left."
“I think it’s because outrage is a commodity. I think it’s something that has been a commodity for a while,” he told the Wrap. “What’s outstanding to me in this discourse in this movie is how easily the far left can sound like the far right when it suits their agenda. It’s really been eye-opening for me.”
Movie theaters are banning masks, costumes, and face paint for Joker screenings, and police in Los Angeles have said they will increase their presence at theaters during screenings citing "public concerns and the historical significance with the premiere of Joker." (A mass shooting at a screening of the Batman film The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora Colorado in 2012 killed 12 people.)
Phoenix told Vanity Fair he was aware of the concerns about copycat violence but hoped people remembered the film was fiction.
"We’re making a movie about a fictional character in a fictional world, ultimately, and your hope is that people take it for what it is,” he said. “You can’t blame movies for a world that is so -flicked- up that anything can trigger it. That’s kind of what the movie is about. It’s not a call to action. If anything it’s a call to self-reflection to society.”


 

Approaching Infinity

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The "society made me do it" angle seems to be the prevailing interpretation. Interesting how the movie is enmeshed with the culture war since its inception.
Haven't seen the movie, but from what I've read online, it seems there's some deliberate ambiguity built into it. I've been a Batman fan since I was tiny, so when I heard this movie was being made, I was initially intrigued. Then when I heard it was an origin story, I was kind of turned off. One of the great things about Heath Ledger's performance, and the script for his version of the character, was how they approached the origin angle. I remember watching Dark Knight for the first time, and there's the scene where Joker tells how he got his scars for the first time. The line was well delivered, but it was a let down to have the mystery revealed so matter-of-factly. But then, when that scene repeated with a different character, and Joker gave a different story, I thought: "Okay, that was perfect." Joker gave a different origin story to everyone. He was completely manipulative and tailoring his story for his victim of the moment.

That's why I didn't like the idea of this new one being an origin story. It was too likely they'd go full Hollywood and give him a cliched psychohistory blaming his upbringing and how society made him that way. Not that that can't work in fiction, but it's overdone and it's nice to see something a bit more original. So not having seen this one, and just going on a few of the things I've read about its ambiguity, it MAY be the case that the fact that most viewers are interpreting it as "society made me do it" says more about the viewers than filmmakers' intent. Maybe they're like one of Joker's victims in Dark Knight, believing one of his 'pity me' stories without skepticism. Of course, can't say for sure without having seen it.
 
Haven't seen the movie, but from what I've read online, it seems there's some deliberate ambiguity built into it. I've been a Batman fan since I was tiny, so when I heard this movie was being made, I was initially intrigued. Then when I heard it was an origin story, I was kind of turned off. One of the great things about Heath Ledger's performance, and the script for his version of the character, was how they approached the origin angle. I remember watching Dark Knight for the first time, and there's the scene where Joker tells how he got his scars for the first time. The line was well delivered, but it was a let down to have the mystery revealed so matter-of-factly. But then, when that scene repeated with a different character, and Joker gave a different story, I thought: "Okay, that was perfect." Joker gave a different origin story to everyone. He was completely manipulative and tailoring his story for his victim of the moment.
Also a fan of Batman from reading the comics as a kid. Ledger's Joker is exceptional, the best in live action, although Cesar Romero's version has an edge of its own :lol:. It's been many years since I saw the Dark Knight but the impression I got from Ledger's Joker was an intelligent but truly chaotic individual. I would probably have thought that the different origin stories reflected this embodiment of chaos, instead of deliberate manipulation. Your take may be the correct one though. Btw, I share your distrust of origin stories, especially in movie adaptations.

That's why I didn't like the idea of this new one being an origin story. It was too likely they'd go full Hollywood and give him a cliched psychohistory blaming his upbringing and how society made him that way. Not that that can't work in fiction, but it's overdone and it's nice to see something a bit more original. So not having seen this one, and just going on a few of the things I've read about its ambiguity, it MAY be the case that the fact that most viewers are interpreting it as "society made me do it" says more about the viewers than filmmakers' intent. Maybe they're like one of Joker's victims in Dark Knight, believing one of his 'pity me' stories without skepticism. Of course, can't say for sure without having seen it.
Yes, I was thinking something similar when reading the reviews, trying to get a sense of people's impressions of the movie, which can be quite distinct from the filmmakers' intent. If the film is indeed ambiguous (I haven't seen it either), this effect is likely to be exacerbated.

Curiously, I recently had a friendly discussion with a young man about criminality and the "society made do it" mentality. In short, he was excusing and sympathizing with criminal behavior because society is to blame. I gave examples to the contrary and pointed to the importance of free will and responsibility without discounting societal and environmental factors. I even threw in a bit of Samenow. He somewhat acknowledged the validity of my points but reiterated that society is to blame. He went as far as saying that he would not blame a criminal that hypothetically killed his family, he is just a product of an unjust society. When the topic changed to politics and economics I learned that he has an affinity for marxism. For another hour I did my best to counteract the utopic and baseless statements but I don't think I changed his mind about anything. Hopefully a few seeds were gently planted.
 

genero81

The Living Force
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Haven't seen the movie, but from what I've read online, it seems there's some deliberate ambiguity built into it.
Spoiler alert:

Not really, I saw it last night. There's simply a convergence of factors that contribute to the creation of 'The Joker.' First off, he's not a psychopath in the clinical sense of the word. Psychopaths are charming, polished, manipulative. He's really none of those things. Character disturbed? Most definitely. He's handicapped with a mental illness. He laughs uncontrollably when stressed. This is established in the opening scene where he's meeting with a social worker. As a result, he's usually laughing at highly inappropriate times. He has no real talent other than this sort of grandiose dance that he does from time to time. He doesn't appear to have much in the way of intelligence. Or at least he doesn't seem to be able to use what intelligence he does have in an effectual manner. He's at a serious disadvantage even if circumstances were better, which they're not. Gotham is a city struggling economically. A difficult situation even for much more capable individuals. The state of society that's portrayed is definitely not helpful but certainly not the sole reason for his demise. He gets bullied a couple of times. The second time is on a subway train. Three business men are harassing a young woman who's trying hard to just mind her own business. He's witnessing this and starts laughing uncontrollably which brings the focus of attention on himself. Things escalate and the three guys start kicking the sh*t out of him. He pulls out a gun that a coworker has just given him for protection and shoots two of the guys dead and wounds the other who runs away. He chases him down and finishes the job. All his life he's felt completely ineffectual in society even questioning whether he existed at all. And for good reason. Now all of the sudden he feels empowered. He's finally had an impact in his world. This is the decisive moment that begins his transformation.

I won't go further. Would I recommend the movie? Not really. I got to see it for 'free' with my unlimited Regal movie pass. I will say Joaquin Phoenix did a spectacular job. But I'm glad I didn't spend a chunk of money on it. If you do see it, just go in knowing it's not really entertaining in the usual sense of the word.
 

Niall

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Ok, if it is social satire, it may be worth seeing then. But I don't get why PJW thinks 'the establishment hates this movie and doesn't want you to see it'; they're all talking about it, which - negative or positive reviews - is 90% of marketing!
 

Odyssey

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Ok, if it is social satire, it may be worth seeing then. But I don't get why PJW thinks 'the establishment hates this movie and doesn't want you to see it'; they're all talking about it, which - negative or positive reviews - is 90% of marketing!
Surely the media knows that negative reviews and incessant bashing will drive more people into the theater. If one of their goals is to continue to fracture the social fabric of society they would certainly hope that more easily triggerable people would see the movie and go off. They could then blame the movie and not their hyping of it.
 

Approaching Infinity

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Ok, if it is social satire, it may be worth seeing then. But I don't get why PJW thinks 'the establishment hates this movie and doesn't want you to see it'; they're all talking about it, which - negative or positive reviews - is 90% of marketing!
Sometimes I wonder if they even understand this principle, or if they're more like a dog with a bone, and just can't let go. Like with Jordan Peterson. "Don't listen to him! Don't go to his lectures! Don't read his book!" And it only has the opposite effect. Then again, there are cases where they seem to understand the principle, by simply ignoring people and ideas. It may be that there are some things which simply have too much exposure - like a hugely popular academic, or a major Hollywood movie with an A-list actor - that they can't help but desperately share their disdain far and wide.
 
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