Lion of the Blogosphere

Quick spoiler-free Joker (2019) post

After the first half of the movie, I thought it was the best movie of the decade. After watching the second half, I downgraded my opinion to one of the best movies of the decade, but still the best comic-book movie ever. Of course, the movie’s not-so-secret secret is that it’s a real movie disguised as a comic book movie, because in modern-day Hollywood, the only movies that get budgeted are comic-book movies.

But strangely, what really annoys me about the movie are that the overhead subway signs are modern ones and not ones from the 1980s. Given all of the money they must have spent on computer-editing of the film to take away any evidence of the year 2018, why did they overlook the subway signs?

In a longer post, I would examine why the reviews aren’t unanimously great from the critics, or even from the fans, at Rotten Tomatoes. I mean, it’s a way better movie than a lot of the crap that gets much higher ratings from the critics. Sure, it’s derivative of Taxi Driver and another Robert De Niro movie that I didn’t see, but what movie isn’t derivative of something else? The crappy new Star Wars movies are basically do-overs of the old movies with dumber plots and mediocre acting, but critics loved them. And in Joker, they brilliantly pay homage by having Robert De Niro have a major role in the movie playing a Johnny Carson-like character. I love how they recreated the look of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. The only thing that was missing was an Ed McMahon type of character introducing Robert De Niro, but I guess they figured that would be too goofy and too obvious.

* * *

Although I never wrote a review of Tax Driver, you should read my excellent review of the song Taxi by Harry Chapin.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 14, 2020 at 8:25 AM

Posted in Movies

34 Responses

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  1. I think Joker had very little by way of redeeming value, but if your chief defense is that it’s less bad than certain other tripe that gets good reviews, I guess I can’t denounce you too hard over that.

    About Star Wars, critics seem to have caught on that the latest one is an outer space train wreck, but critics also believe that The Last Jedi was a masterpiece, which is perverse.

    Blue Tribe Dissident

    January 14, 2020 at 10:15 AM

    • The Last Jedi ticks all of the right boxes.

      JayMan

      January 25, 2020 at 7:20 AM

  2. OK, Lion, I’ll go see Joker.

    Robert the Libertarian

    January 14, 2020 at 10:27 AM

  3. My theory for why some of the critics railed against Joker is that the movie humanized the wrong kind of person. Arthur Fleck doesn’t fit the profile of someone whom they think deserves love or compassion. He fits the profile of someone whom they think should be hated and despised.

    destructure

    January 14, 2020 at 10:48 AM

    • Ah, the whole “Incel” and “Gamer” meme and applying to Joker. I think you’re on the something.

      I believe the same critics who railed on Joker also make a lot of connections to Incels. Ironically, part of the film’s message is totally flying over their heads. Instead being exactly what the Arthur don’t need – and by extension the people those critics linked to too.

      Dreamer

      January 14, 2020 at 11:14 AM

      • I’m sure that’s part of it. Women have trouble empathizing with men (and characters) they don’t find attractive. But I wasn’t talking specifically about incel/gamer. I think there’s a lot more to it. It would take an army of psychiatrists to untangle all the motives and feelings behind their negative reviews. But there’s definitely a creepy omega factor going on with Arthur Fleck that puts women reviewers off. But I think a lot of men can see his side and empathize with him.

        destructure

        January 14, 2020 at 2:57 PM

  4. Lion, you haven’t seen “Kings of Comedy?”

    Joker directly plagiarizes that that MUCH SUPERIOR movie more than “Taxi Driver.”

    Joker has NOTHING to say about urban alienation/inceldom. It takes no viewpoint (right or left); it is Phoenix giggling and doing a skinny man dance a lot.

    It’s a movie for kids and dummies; like EVERY modern day superhero movie. It’s a sick and stupid culture that would deem this to be of high artistic achievement or any intellectual depth and honesty.

    fakeemail

    January 14, 2020 at 11:11 AM

    • AND it didn’t even have the guts to make the subway criminals blacks! Bernie Goetz didn’t shoot a bunch of Wall St. Bros.

      The suicide letter left by say Sodini is a FAAAAR more illuminating, and yes moving, look into modern male madness than this stupid movie.

      fakeemail

      January 14, 2020 at 12:12 PM

      • AND it didn’t even have the guts to make the subway criminals blacks! Bernie Goetz didn’t shoot a bunch of Wall St. Bros.

        I enjoyed the movie, but I found that scene hard to believe. Wall Street bros are unlikely to pick fights with random people on the subway — based on my years of experience as a straphanger, it’s Black men and homeless people that are the most likely to do that.

        markus

        January 14, 2020 at 1:19 PM

      • This definitely deserves a post from me.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        January 14, 2020 at 1:42 PM

      • >>I enjoyed the movie, but I found that scene hard to believe. Wall Street bros are unlikely to pick fights with random people on the subway

        Yeah, but bullshitting, bullying Wall Street bros. do exist and they are complete assholes. Cowards and Cucks to a man, too. I cheered their cinematic comeuppance.

        Daniel Heneghan

        January 14, 2020 at 5:31 PM

  5. The King of Comedy (the other Scorcese/Deniro movie Joker rips off) is fantastic and criminally underrated. You should watch as a follow up. Lot of great scenes of NYC in the real 1980s in there as well.

    You should also see Uncut Gems, which was snubbed by the oscars but was probably the best movie this year. Very exciting and action packed, and featuring interesting depictions of jews who are both extremely wealthy and extremely prole. it was well worth a trip to theater imo, but comes out on netflix end of the month i believe

    JM

    January 14, 2020 at 11:24 AM

    • THE KING OF COMEDY – Trailer ( 1982 )

      ‘The King of Comedy’ | Critics’ Picks | The New York Times

      MEH 0910

      January 15, 2020 at 2:20 AM

  6. I asked you to do a review of taxi driver but you blew me off, so now I’m specifically asking that you not do a review of taxi driver.

    A surprisingly excellent film is The Two Popes. Anyone watch it?

    At first I was underwhelmed but about halfway through I realized it was one of the best films I’ve ever seen.

    toomanymice

    January 14, 2020 at 11:25 AM

    • “The Two Popes” was extremely watchable, thanks to the great acting, but it’s entirely imaginary — https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/the-lies-of-the-two-popes/ — yet it owes the attention it’s received to the fact that it opportunistically uses real people as characters. If the two men depicted in the film were named Julio and Carlo, or if it opened with an onscreen message like “The events shown in this film are 100% fictitious, and none of the meetings shown here actually occurred,” few would have watched it. People watched because they thought they were getting, at least to some degree, an insightful peek behind real-life events they’d seen on the news.

      But in fact, what they were getting, among other things, was a piece of fashionably lefty, pro-migrant propaganda, celebrating Pope Francis’s support of African “refugees” flooding into Europe — people who, in real life, are helping destroy the Christian civilization that Francis ought to be defending.

      Simon

      January 14, 2020 at 6:38 PM

      • P.S. The National Review’s Kyle Smith sums it up nicely: “The Two Popes is fantasy built on lies.”

        Simon

        January 14, 2020 at 6:43 PM

  7. but what movie isn’t derivative of something else?

    Interesting question. If I had to put down a list of directors I thought were truly original they might be (in no particular order):

    -Welles
    -Kubrick
    -Leone
    -Hitchcock
    -Altman
    -Scorsese
    -Lynch

    Watching their movies you feel like you’re watching something totally different from everything else. Though it’s harder to notice for Scorsese, Altman and Leone since so much modern stuff rips them off.

    Andrew E.

    January 14, 2020 at 1:06 PM

    • Actually, if you think about it, film is a relatively recent artistic medium, the possibilities of
      which are furthermore closely tied to technology, which has evolved dramatically since the inception of the medium, therefore allowing for the possibility of a great deal of original work. And i think one does see quite a bit of out-of-whole-cloth, relatively reference free film up until about 1980. With music, on the other hand, or painting, it is essentially impossible to produce anything truly original at this stage.

      JM

      January 14, 2020 at 2:19 PM

    • If nothing else, those directors’ later work is derivative of their earlier work.

      (Derivative doesn’t imply bad.)

      snorlax

      January 14, 2020 at 2:38 PM

    • Roman Polanski deserves a place on the list.

      Roli

      January 14, 2020 at 3:38 PM

      • His best film, Macbeth, is certainly unlike anything I’ve ever seen. That is, it is the best film adaptation of Shakespeare I know of. Masterful. And Jon Finch, an all-time great, is at the peak of his powers.

        Andrew E.

        January 14, 2020 at 4:24 PM

    • DePalma should be on there. And Ford.

      Curle

      January 14, 2020 at 6:12 PM

      • DePalma’s early stuff was totally original when I first saw them. Then I saw Vertigo.

        Ford I can definitely see.

        Andrew E.

        January 15, 2020 at 8:43 AM

  8. “Wall Street bros are unlikely to pick fights with random people on the subway — based on my years of experience as a straphanger, it’s Black men and homeless people that are the most likely to do that.”

    For what is was worth, the one time someone tried to pick a fight with me on the subway for random reasons it was a white man, though he seemed more like a prole than a Wall Street type.

    Thinking about it, in forty years of living in New York there were a few instances of white men trying to start fights with me for reasons I still don’t understand. I was mugged once by black men. But I don’t find that “Joker” scene implausible by Hollywood standards.

    Ed

    January 14, 2020 at 2:22 PM

    • Wall Street types would NOT have been taking a cab.

      And yes, I do find it completely implausible that three Wall Street types would beat up on a mentally disturbed man, even if they were drunk.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      January 14, 2020 at 2:33 PM

    • Once some years ago, while on a very crowded Vancouver Skytrain, a homeless guy, covered in scabs and muddy clothes entered the train and started unceremoniously walking across the length of the compartment. I could see him fervently making his way towards me and knew that if I didn’t do something quickly, he would rub past me (scab ridden face, arms and all). Unable to escape, I stuck my elbow out to so it would only be my elbow he rubbed past. As it happened, he accused me of elbowing him and tried to throw a punch in my direction. On account of it being crowded and him being an emaciated addict, he wasn’t able to hit me. However, from that day forward I lost whatever sympathy I had previously had for those described as homeless, especially in welfare generous Canada.

      Roli

      January 14, 2020 at 4:15 PM

      • A lot of homeless people are alcoholics or addicts. But a lot are also mentally ill or have some serious traumatic brain injury. They’re not all homeless for the same reasons. I’m sure plenty are terrible but some probably deserve some sympathy. I wouldn’t condemn all of them based on one guy who misunderstood your elbow action.

        destructure

        January 14, 2020 at 6:44 PM

      • How many homeless are the children of incompetents who were PAID by the government to breed aka welfare?

        fakeemail

        January 16, 2020 at 10:25 AM

      • I’ve heard that 1/3 of homeless people are veterans.

        njguy73

        January 16, 2020 at 7:15 PM

      • “I’ve heard that 1/3 of homeless people are veterans.”

        More likely 1/3 of homeless claim to be veterans. It ups the donations.

        Mike Street Station

        January 18, 2020 at 9:36 AM

  9. What is the point of Fleck being so skinny? Everyone is impressed that Phoenix lost so much weight for the role, but what did it have to do with the rest of the movie?

    How much of the movie is supposed to be real, and how much Fleck’s imagination? The movie is ambiguous.

    Roger

    January 14, 2020 at 4:54 PM

  10. Not having seen it yourself, I do think you’re underrating how very, very similar The King of Comedy is. I didn’t think Joker was much like Taxi Driver, but I watched TKoC and was startled by how similar they were. Joker is more like a remake of TKoC than derivative of it.

    Tomalak

    January 14, 2020 at 7:35 PM

  11. The negress was cute.

    FredFarkle

    January 15, 2020 at 5:27 AM


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