The Joker Movie

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#1 Edited by WMoyer83 (1051 posts) -

On October 4th, The Joker movie will be released, and to be completely honest, it concerns me deeply.

No, I’m not concerned about the adaptation of the character, of the performances, or of the narrative structure of the film.

What I’m concerned about is how relatable Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of the character and the how it symbolizes the fragility of the current American psyche.

The current climate of American culture is dangerous, unpredictable, and unforgiving.

Mass shootings are almost on a daily basis. Drug addiction is rampant. Crime and poverty have gripped our society worse than ever.

Apparently, this film might be a painful reflection of current society. From the reviews I have seen, the film takes place in 1981, and essentially focuses on how the culture and upbringing of Mr. Arthur Fleck has caused him to lapse into complete madness.

My concern is that in this current social climate this film might be too compatible with a lot of people who feel too down trodden and ridiculed, left behind and disposed. Art mimics culture, and if this film is already been given vivid and livid recommendations and consideration, how will it affect society?

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and it is far too convincing to see the parallels of those who already consider their day to day existence as tolerating a “clown world”.

I feel like this movie will inspire the worst in people.

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#2 Posted by niko_of_death (280 posts) -

Haven't we already had this debate 19 years ago with American Psycho?

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#3 Posted by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -

Even if art led folks to kill, would it really matter much seeing as we're at like two mass shootings per week anyway?

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#4 Posted by niko_of_death (280 posts) -

@shiftygism: People want anything to blame (entertainment (whether it be video games, this movie etc.), guns, politics etc.) to avoid admitting the reality that our culture/society has rotted to the core.

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#5 Posted by frytup (1366 posts) -

I could launch into an extended TL;DR about how this BS argument has been a thing since at least the late 1960s (and probably before), but instead I'll just say...

No. Stop.

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#6 Posted by DarkeyeHails (607 posts) -

If this movie is tapping into something real and present in the current American cultural psyche, you should probably be more concerned about the existence of these problems and not so much the existence of this movie.

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#7 Posted by BladeOfCreation (1436 posts) -

With a 24-hour news cycle and the ability to be connected to everything in real time, it would appear that crime is "worse than ever." However, it's simply not true. The data does not show this. Violent crime has been trending downwards or roughly flat since the early 90s.

I have no desire to see this movie and I have no doubt that some of the worst people will latch onto it as a movie about themselves, but let's not use demonstrably false narratives while discussing it.

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#8 Posted by BonelessSpirit (57 posts) -

The new Joker movie will not lead to any increase in violence, no.

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#9 Posted by Ungodly (450 posts) -

This movie is just Taxi Driver, with a comic book character. People will annoyingly idolize it, like they do with every Joker. Will it lead people to extreme acts of violence? No. Will people who commit extreme acts of acts of violence have Joker memorabilia around them? Possibly. Some will enjoy it as just another movie, and others will read way too much into it... as is the case with almost all fiction.

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#10 Posted by Nodima (2654 posts) -

@ungodly: Don't forget The King of Comedy! Early reviews don't make it sound like Joker will get as out and out weird as that movie did, nor does Phillips' camera sound like it looks at Arthur Fleck with the abject disdain Scorcese's lens cast over Rupert Pupkin, but Phillips' script is clearly borrowing heavily from the premise of that movie I think even moreso than Taxi Driver. The latter is just an easier call because even thirty years later it's still hard to know exactly what we're supposed to make of King of Comedy.

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#11 Posted by nutter (2397 posts) -

@nodima:

1) King of Comedy was a great little gem of a film.

2) I’m sure civilized society will somehow endure the scourge that is The Joker.

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#12 Posted by Efesell (4634 posts) -

I mean the reality is that plenty of encouragement is already provided to the people you fear this movie might influence.

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#13 Posted by ShaggE (9312 posts) -

Not at all. It might lead to an increase of edgelords, but that happens with every new Joker-related bit of media anyway. The movie might hold an unintended appeal to certain folks a la Fight Club, but actually inciting violence? I can't see that happening outside of MAYBE a single event done by somebody who was just looking for a convenient scapegoat to blame in court. "The movie made me do it! We live in a society!", etc.

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#14 Posted by DaShibuya (64 posts) -

Watch Natural Born Killers, it'll blow your mind.

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#15 Posted by nutter (2397 posts) -

@dashibuya: I saw Natural Born Killers when it came out. I was 15. I thought that movie was fucking amazing at the time.

I’m not sure how I’d feel as a parent pushing 40.

I can tell you that I have zero interest in watching Henry, these days. That was another that I though was pretty cool when I was a teenager.

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#16 Edited by BonelessSpirit (57 posts) -

There were quite a few edgy shooter type movies in the 90s/2000s, understandably so.

Elephant and Zero Day are two other movies I remember watching as a teen/pre-teen.

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#17 Posted by DaShibuya (64 posts) -

@nutter: I weirdly think Natural Born Killers is maybe more culturally relevant today in the advent of social media and mass shooters than it was nearly 30 years ago. Be interested to watching it now. I'm only certain the social commentary based humor in that movie has only aged like a fine wine as a result.

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#18 Posted by jiggajoe14 (1826 posts) -

Just looks like a lame version of King of Comedy that will bore me more than anything. I'd be more interested if it was a sleazy De Palma ripoff or something like that. Whatever...I'll just kick back and laugh at film twitter during all this hubbub.

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#19 Posted by shorap (455 posts) -

Crime has been in decline over the decades, largely from reducing/eliminating lead in various products. Just imagine how much lower it would be if our country had actual infrastructure work done to eliminate lead in the water as well.

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#20 Edited by TheHT (15890 posts) -

Nah.

I'm actually really looking forward to this, tbh! Looks really sad. I'm down for a sad Joker movie staring Joaquin Phoenix. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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#21 Edited by SethMode (2100 posts) -

I find it really weird that this is the take that even a lot of outlets have latched on to. Like, incels are awful and are always going to be awful, but we can't get up in arms every time someone comes for violent media and defend it, just to turn around and decry it when it suits us. It's exhausting.

If some asshole incel or otherwise social malcontent does something horrible, it will be because we have terrible rhetoric throughout our social and political spectrum that is normalizing it. It won't be because the person saw a movie. They might blame it on the movie, but that won't even be the root cause.

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#22 Posted by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -

Phoenix should do a darker remake of that Billy Connolly zombie film "Fido" and call it "Joaquin Dead."

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#23 Posted by MrGreenMan (253 posts) -

looks like pretentious bullshit film making fun of mental heath and making up things these filmmakers just do not understand or just lazily write into the film to make the joker look more dark and scary. I honestly am done with media just using mentally ill people as dangerous scary people who are a problem for society that only do harm.

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#24 Posted by Efesell (4634 posts) -

What annoys me most about this movie is that it blew up twitter and I thought it must have come out or something but it's like a month away?

Just..gleefully advertising for it the whole way.

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#25 Posted by mykeacid (30 posts) -

this is literally the same argument that video games cause violence

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#26 Edited by BladeOfCreation (1436 posts) -

@efesell: It blew up on Twitter because reviews are out and people are reacting to the reviews. Most of them are quite positive.

Twitter is weird. I mean, fucking Maxim was trending last night. Maxim.

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#28 Posted by psmgamer (132 posts) -

I interested to see how Joaquin Phoenix does as Joker.

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#29 Posted by OurSin_360 (6226 posts) -

It looks like it will be good, but it's probably going to be too dark for me.

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#30 Posted by berfunkle (197 posts) -

It's just a movie. Go and enjoy it, or don't like me, cause I hate comic book movies.

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#31 Posted by notnert427 (2295 posts) -

The movie looks good. I will probably see it.

Regarding the argument made here about how supposedly applicable this is to the real world, no to just about every contention there. The societal issues listed aren't "American" ones save maybe the mass shooting stuff, but even that seems to be a complete fucking reach in relation to the actual movie. Out of all the promotional stuff thus far, one trailer shows a revolver for all of two seconds. Whoopee.

I'm sorry, but this is the laziest of takes. Blaming fictional media for actual issues is goddamn ridiculous and always has been. The idea that thematically dark things should apparently not exist because the most tangential of connections can be made to upsetting parts of the real world is asinine. "Art mimics culture", but it's only okay to mimic the flowery bits of it? That's going to stop bad things from happening?

I legitimately don't even know what the thought process is here. People were doing awful shit to themselves and each other before movies existed, and it's actually less so now in just about every respect statistically, except now everything awful is spotlighted and people assume that's all there is instead of thinking. At this point, the mindless eagerness to hyperfocus on only negative shit and blow it out of proportion might actually be more problematic than the actual things people love to criticize.

I wholly reject the concept of merely pointing at obvious problems and acting like that means anything or does anything. You want to make a difference? Counsel addicts, contact your legislator to amend gun laws, become a cop to help clean up the streets, etc., etc. You know what doesn't do shit? Whining about a fucking movie. It is aimless slacktivist garbage.

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#32 Edited by MrGreenMan (253 posts) -

I'd argue that reinforcing stigmas on people who have real mental health problems are dangerous psychopaths who and are terrible people is a real problem in media as a whole. We as a society push mental health aside as it's this taboo, and have been reinforcing these false narratives for decades especially in film and TV, and while may not harm people, it more than has helped people think that those with mental health issues are bad evil people.

Also, it's a tired and lazy trope done so many times at this point.

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#33 Posted by notnert427 (2295 posts) -

I'd argue that reinforcing stigmas on people who have real mental health problems are dangerous psychopaths who and are terrible people is a real problem in media as a whole. We as a society push mental health aside as it's this taboo, and have been reinforcing these false narratives for decades especially in film and TV, and while may not harm people, it more than has helped people think that those with mental health issues are bad evil people.

Also, it's a tired and lazy trope done so many times at this point.

That doesn't really appear to be the angle this movie is taking at all, though. If the trailers are any indication, it looks to be a story about a marginalized guy being driven into madness by a society that's beating him down, figuratively and literally, and ultimately discovering he isn't alone there. It appears to be empathizing with mental illness, not stigmatizing it.

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#34 Edited by Rahf (544 posts) -

Let's wait until the film actually releases before we condemn it for giving Joker a sympathetic turn. We don't know how this ends, or even how his madness plays out.

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#35 Posted by DaShibuya (64 posts) -

I saw some footage leaks from what I assumed was the Venice showing. I'm honestly impressed with the one scene I decided to spoil myself on. The music in particular was a definite highlight.

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#36 Posted by not_a_bumblebee (153 posts) -

So what I gather from the trailers is this is just a mash up of Taxi Driver and King of Comedy with Joker in the Robert De Niro role and Robert De Niro in the Jerry Lewis role in a movie directed by the guy that did Old School and the Hangover movies. Am I missing something?

Seems like it could be fun and Joaquin Phoenix is one of my favorite actors. I'm going to check it out but have no expectations that this is going to be "high art".

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#37 Posted by MonkeyKing1969 (7691 posts) -

While it may sound lame to agree with Movie Bob that all the WRONG sort of people will be "inspired" by this movie for all teh wrong reasons. It might not be a bad movie, although the cribbing of "King of Comedy" certainly does not make it "more" interesting, but I think this is shaping up to be an movie that makes and asshole the antihero.

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#38 Posted by Gundato (367 posts) -

I was going to write a long post that pointed out that things can impact to an overall more negative world without being the root cause of some of the truly heinous negativity all while putting it in the context of what, if anything, is the responsibility of the creator. And I was even going to contrast it with Jojo Rabbit. But this isn't really the venue for that.

What I will say is that I saw some leaked footage that claims to be the climax of the film. And it reeks of being the kind of moment that the (hopefully) wrong audience takes as a rallying cry. Think Scarface's speech on money and power, but a lot more violent and "shocking". And that even if the rest of the movie paints The Joaquer as a monster, that is going to be getting quoted and meme'd on all the shitty parts of the internet for a long time to come.

I'm not going to take a stance on whether it is the responsibility of the creators to not do this (mostly because I don't actually know) and maybe the film will be great (has some great actors and the concept of The Joker is an interesting one). But even if the rest of the movie is a deconstruction of that moment, we are looking at something that will probably make the world an ever so slightly shittier place for its existence.

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#39 Posted by Jesus_Phish (3915 posts) -
@gundato said:

I was going to write a long post that pointed out that things can impact to an overall more negative world without being the root cause of some of the truly heinous negativity all while putting it in the context of what, if anything, is the responsibility of the creator. And I was even going to contrast it with Jojo Rabbit. But this isn't really the venue for that.

What I will say is that I saw some leaked footage that claims to be the climax of the film. And it reeks of being the kind of moment that the (hopefully) wrong audience takes as a rallying cry. Think Scarface's speech on money and power, but a lot more violent and "shocking". And that even if the rest of the movie paints The Joaquer as a monster, that is going to be getting quoted and meme'd on all the shitty parts of the internet for a long time to come.

That's actually a solid comparison. Scarface is often picked up on by people and idolized for the wrong reasons. People who think Tony Montana is a hero who died a heroes death and completely miss the point of the movie. But you don't see many people criticising the movie for those peoples misunderstanding, yet you do with this one (that's not even out yet).


However you're the actual monster for introducing me to the word "Joaquer".

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#40 Edited by not_a_bumblebee (153 posts) -

I forgot the Joker movie is going to drive people mad like a real life version of the John Carpenter classic In the Mouth of Madness. Todd Phillips, the director of Road Trip, is the new Sutter Cane.

Here is my thoughts on the whole Joker thing:

Loading Video...

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#41 Posted by blackichigo (446 posts) -

How about we watch the movie first.

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#42 Posted by TheHT (15890 posts) -

@gundato said:

...The Joaquer...

However you're the actual monster for introducing me to the word "Joaquer".

Ah, yes, the Walker.

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#43 Posted by Shiftygism (1129 posts) -
@theht said:
@jesus_phish said:
@gundato said:

...The Joaquer...

However you're the actual monster for introducing me to the word "Joaquer".

Ah, yes, the Walker.

No "l", it'd be "Wocker" as in one that "wocks" or dare I say "wokkas"....referencing another down on his luck comedian.