Todd Phillips's choice to use convicted pedophile Gary Glitter's music in Joker has caused further backlash. "Rock and Roll Part 2" is shown during a pivotal scene in the movie where Arthur Fleck makes his transformation into the Clown Prince of Crime. The song, which was written in and recorded in 1972, was written by Glitter and producer Mike Leander and was used at sporting events all over the world for nearly 30 years. However, that all changed once Glitter's legal problems became public news.
"Rock and Roll Part 2" is mostly instrumental and is used as Joaquin Phoenix's Arthur Fleck dances down some stairs after his transformation. A number of songs could have been used in this portion of Joker and this choice almost seems to be a direct troll from director Todd Phillips, who had to have known it would cause some controversy. The main point of contention is that it is believed Gary Glitter, aka Paul Gadd, will receive a lump sum of royies from the hit movie using a decent portion of his song. In addition, the movie uses child abuse as a plot device, making the song choice even more questionable.
Gary Glitter was arrested in the late 1990s for downloading child pornography. In 2015, Glitter was found guilty of attempted rape, four counts of indecent assault, and one count of having sex with a girl under the age of 13. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison. It's at this point that "Rock and Roll Part 2" was taken out of sports events from around the world. It was used heavily in the NHL and NFL in North America, but it was later phased out completely. So why did Todd Phillips use it?
Related: Credible Joker Movie Threat Shuts Down Theater in Huntington Beach, CA
Most critics of Joker are angry over the fact that a convicted pedophile will receive money from the successful movie. One critic calls the song choice the "most morally questionable" aspect of the movie as a whole. It seems that Todd Phillips was fully aware of this when making the movie and used it to his advantage to spark outrage within the movie and in the real-world. At this point it's hard not to think of Phillips' directorial debut, which is a documentary on the life of notorious punk rock musician GG Allin, who took everything to extremes and made it his life goal to kill himself on stage he later died of a heroin overdose after a show.
GG Allin was and is a controversial figure and one can easily see his punk rock influence all over Joker. But, is the use of Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll Part 2" just a childish trolling on the part of Todd Phillips? The director has yet to speak out about the song choice and there are more than a few questions surrounding it. Maybe the director will discuss the situation now that the movie is out in theaters and people have taken notice. Warner Bros. also has not commented on the song choice.
Whatever my mixed feelings about Joker, director Todd Phillips using a track by child abuser Gary Glitter over a key scene - in a film that uses child abuse as a plot device no less - is absolute bullshit
— Man vs Pink @ManVsPink October 6, 2019
Gary Glitter gets royies for Joker. They're literally paying a paedophile to use his music in a movie about the consequences of child abuse. I'm off the fence - this movie is immoral bullshit.
— Man vs Pink @ManVsPink October 6, 2019
Outrage is a currency both within and outside the film, “ Joker” consciously dancing up to the line and stopping short.Hell, the film features a conversation about whether the character belongs in mass media in the film’s current frought political climate. pic.twitter.com/2nGCduASkC
— Darren Mooney @Darren_Mooney October 1, 2019
I’m of two minds about this, to be frank. On one level, the film’s provocations are deliberately juvenile, bordering in on trollish.In actuality, the most morally questionable aspect of the film is the use of a Gary Glitter song, and the film is well aware of this. pic.twitter.com/h25dHrc4js
Warner Bros. Joker, directed by Todd Phillips who co-wrote with Scott Silver and starring Joaquin Phoenix, has arrived in theaters and scored the best October opening weekend of all time. Did all the controversy help boost those numbers? Perhaps. The movie also divided critics despite the early and near universal acclaim for Phoenix's performance as Arthur Fleck, who eventually devolves for lack of a better word because the guy does grow repeatedly homicidal and follows through on those urges into an early incarnation of the Clown Prince of Crime. Well, it's time to discuss some of the things that couldn't be mentioned in our two reviews of the movie.
IN CASE THAT WASN'T WARNING ENOUGH, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS.
Did Todd Phillips Give The Middle-Finger To Comic Book Movies?
The first big obvious joke about Joker is that it's helmed by the director of Old School and The Hangover trilogy. It's been a hell of a year for The Hangover filmmakers, given that Craig Mazin won a writing Emmy, long after he penned multiple madcap adventures for Bradley Cooper who's producing on Joker and pals. These guys are really stepping out, doing their thing, and in Phillips' case, Joker functions as many things. First and foremost, it's his twisted love-letter to Martin Scorsese, who recently described Marvel Studios movies as “not cinema” and like “theme parks.” Fortunately for Phillips, this is not a Marvel film but a Warner Bros. one, and a stripped-down one at that. Joker is gritty but in a Taxi Driver-esque, not a Zack Snyder, way. The movie is also, as Phillips suggested, pretty much a “heist” movie — in the sense that he nabbed a relatively small $55 million budget by comic book movie standards from Warner Bros., so that he and Phoenix could “do whatever the hell we want.”
Did Phillips actually make a comic book movie, though? Yes and no. Joker doesn't rely upon special effects or the wildly enormous ensemble casts so popular today with both Marvel and D.C. Instead, this is a character-driven movie and a tale that successfully aspires to be examined for its nuance. At different points, it's both self-loathing and gleefully nihilistic and strives to not fall into comic-book movie conventions. Phillips even bragged about how the movie “didn't follow anything from the comic books, which people are gonna be mad about.” Yes, Joker contains an original plot that's not based on any D.C. comic in particular, and Phillips wanted to tell an origin story not about Joker but how Arthur Fleck became Joker, who — as we all know — then went on to become the greatest supervillain of Gotham.
The general air that Phillips presented was that this movie was the story of some guy and what transpired to turn him into the Joker without any mention of subsequent toxic waste from the Killing Joke comic. And that's alright as a goal. Something strange happened along the way, though. This movie ends up being not only a Joker origin story but — surprise — a Batman origin story. And that's where things start to feel strange: Joker sits outside the DCEU at least, according to remarks made by Phillips at TIFF. So it's not meant to be canon, and by design, we may never know what happens next with Fleck. It could be a one-off movie from Phillips and Phoenix, and that's also okay. However, the Batman aspect of the third act feels inconsistent to what Phillips described as a non-connected to the DCEU standalone flick. It was narratively compelling to see what happened to the Waynes, but, arguably, the Batman origin-story aspect ran contrary to Phillips' stated purpose and those two-hours invested in Fleck.
How About Those Joker-Incel Worries?
There's plenty of criticism that holds water against this movie, including the ickiness of watching a man dance to a Gary Glitter tune also frequently used for celebratory reasons during various other films and sporting events after going off his meds and committing a few homicides that can't be justified as self-defense. That dance further hyped him up to kill Murray Franklin, and part of the big worry over Joker was that it would incite violence, which is a weak argument, considering that the U.S. already suffers from regular high-profile mass shootings. Joker probably won't inspire more violent acts in a culture that's already plagued by them, although it's understandable that theaters including the one in Aurora, CO, where filmgoers were slaughtered during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight took precautionary measures.
What of the arguments that the movie lends sympathy for the “incel” — so named for the online subculture of “involuntary celibates” who blame women for said celibacy? That subculture has been linked to multiple mass killings, but does it describe Arthur Fleck?
Not really. Let's talk about his attractive neighbor, Sophie Zazie Beetz. She's a love interest, yes, but she's more of a device used to show, in Arthur's imagination, that he's two things: 1 Capable of making people laugh; 2 A “hero” for shooting those three privileged “pricks” on the subway. Further, Arthur's not angry and killing people because as he realizes after he goes off his meds she's not attracted to him and is clearly terrified by him. Rather, Arthur deeply suffers from mental illness and has been left twisting in the wind by society. Not just society at large but by the system, for Gotham City has cut off his access to both therapy and psychiatric medication. That mental illness, as this origin story tells us, largely sources from childhood abuse, and yes, he kills his mother also a female but whom he loved dearly, but only after he learned that she permitted that abuse to happen.
So really, any attempt to frame Arthur as an “incel” misses the point. He's incensed at humanity and especially at the upper crust represented by the Waynes. He's not angry at women as a group. Arthur's mother was a source of what led to his mental illness — she suffered from her own ailments and didn't stop what happened to him — and Sophie was used as a device to show us the depths of Arthur's delusions. Multiple characters female and male are shown being horrified at Arthur's actions after he goes off his meds, and anyone would be scared if a stranger simply showed up in their living room and started brooding on the couch. That was Todd Phillips, presumably, showing us what was real and not real about this story, which brings me to the next point.
How Much Of What We See Onscreen Actually Happened?
Joker obviously lends itself to viewing through a nuanced lens on several levels. The movie wants us to think about the effects of marginalization and alienation and untreated mental illness, and for all its middle-finger pointing, it doesn't appear that Todd Phillips sympathizes with his main character. What does mess things up, quite a bit, from an interpretation standpoint, is that Arthur Fleck might be the ultimate unreliable narrator. We don't know how much of this movie happened, and it's actually possible that all of it took place in his head while he sat in Arkham Asylum,
Unreliable narrators frankly fascinate me. I frequently enjoy them quite a bit, especially when there's a big Keyser Söze “aha!” moment and other characters react, but Joker never delivers that moment. We learn close to the beginning of the movie that Arthur is capable of imagining an entire scene while we watch him “visit” Murray Franklin's show as a guest. However, that scene was very obviously fake as it happened. It felt surreal and dreamlike, unlike other scenes that we learned were not real, just “off” in retrospect, like Arthur's interactions with Sophie. So what can we trust to be real at all in Joker?
The aforementioned dreamlike quality returned when we see Fleck in a white room at Arkham Asylum. He's presumably medicated, since his “awkward” version of the laugh is intact again, and he's telling his therapist that he was thinking about a joke, but she simply wouldn't get it. Was the whole story the “joke”? Is he actually even “real” while presumably killing his therapist and then engaging in a dream-like chase with hospital staff? Did he, as Frank Sinatra's song dictates, roll himself up in a big ball and fly? We really don't know, but he appears ghostlike, and the scene casts doubt on the whole movie for me, as far as whether it was “real.”
Look, we're talking about a movie that sold itself on the promise of “grittiness,” which also carries the implicit promise of authenticity. So all of this real-or-not-realness, well, it's a little discombobulating. Perhaps that's what Phillips intended all along, and that's alright, if he was simply telling the origin story of Arthur Fleck. Where it all starts to feel inauthentic is when Phillips decided to remember, very close to the end, that he was helming a comic-book movie and pulled in his Batman origin story, too. Bruce Wayne is left literally standing above his slain parents, so he might as well already may as well be wearing a child-sized cowl. His future vigilante aims are already clear. Granted, Joker didn't physically murder the Waynes as he did in Tim Burton's movies, but Bruce Wayne knows — after meeting Fleck earlier in the film — enough to connect the dots here.
That's where things feel weird for me. Arthur Fleck's fate is left very open-ended, and that's fine, but why does this movie take such a strong, unambiguous stance on what happened to Bruce Wayne? That feels like a canonical statement in a movie that never meant to be canon, according to the director and co-writer himself. Maybe I'm taking all of this too seriously and need to lighten up on the real-or-not-real aspect. After all, this movie is not called The Joker, it's called Joker. So it's a Joker, not necessarily the one who we've known for all these years.
After all, the “the”s are important, just ask James Gunn, who's apparently telling the story of The Suicide Squad, rather than whatever happened with blob people a few years ago from director David Ayer. In the end, Joker might one day be considered a nihilistic masterpiece, but in the end, it's only a movie — a comic book movie — and one meant to make us fret. And yeah, here we are are, fretting over Joker.
It’s official: people really wanted to see Joaquin Phoenix smoke cigarettes while wearing clown make-up. The Joker box office results from the weekend are in, and they’re record-breaking. Todd Phillips‘ dark, violent R-rated take on Batman’s arch-nemesis is now the winner of the largest October domestic opening ever, knocking out last year’s Venom.
While any movie associated with Batman is almost guaranteed to make money, there were some doubts about Joker. This wasn’t your average Bat-flick, after all. In fact, Batman isn’t even in it. Instead, Joker is a dark, violent, very adult talk on the Clown Prince of Crime. On top of that, there were several reports of credible threats that lead to a ened security presence in theaters opening weekend. But none of that was enough to turn away audiences, and Joker had the biggest domestic opening ever for the month of October, hauling in $93.5 million. Joker also earned $140.5 million overseas via Box Office Mojo.
The big question now is: will it hold? Will Joker have the staying power of something like The Dark Knight, or even Venom? Or was this big opening merely the result of morbid curiosity – a movie-going public unable to turn-away a movie that was riding a wave of controversy? We’ll know soon enough – either word-of-mouth will keep Joker laughing all the way to the bank, or the movie is going to plummet, box office-wise, come next weekend.
Any time an unpredictable movie scores big, Hollywood studios take note. This means that this morning there are probably two-dozen execs gathered around big conference tables, or Skyping in from who-knows-where, discussing what dark-and-violent comic book property they can make next. Get ready for R-rated Clock King!
Normally, especially in the world of comic book movies, you might expect Joker to spawn some sort of sequel now. While this isn’t entirely out of the question, I have a hard time believing it would happen. The press tour for this film hasn’t exactly gone smoothly, and Phoenix doesn’t seem like the type of actor to get sucked into the franchise concept he reportedly turned-down Doctor Strange because he didn’t want to commit to multiple movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Even if we don’t get a Joker sequel, Warner Bros. and DC have plenty to look forward to. The sure-to-be R-rated Birds of Prey arrives next year, and Matt Reeves is gearing up to make his new Batman movie with Robert Pattinson, due out in 2021.
Reading around online, it would be easy to go into into Joker with a list of talking points in your head before you had even seen the movie. Since its unprecedented win last month of the Venice Film Festival’s top prize, the latest comic book tentpole from Warner Bros. and DC Films has become highly politicized—to the point where the idea of it and what it represents is almost a separate thing from the movie itself. Film festival premieres take place in an online vacuum where larger cultural forces have not yet swept in to surround a movie and define it. On the other side of them comes the escalation of movie opinions that Commissioner Gordon warned about at the end of Batman Begins.
Whether it’s a case of critics comparing notes and/or the film telegraphing specific concepts, reviews of Joker have frequently invoked the same buzzwords, such as “incel” and “income inequality.” There’s a lot of hand-wringing, in negative reviews, about the movie’s lack of a clear message. Comparisons abound, across the boards, to the films of Martin Scorsese, while in the background, the shadow of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado shooting hangs over everything.
To be clear, it’s not without good reason that some of these talking points are out there, but now Joker is in theaters and general audiences have had a chance to square their own cinema experience against the pre-release media chatter. Members of the insane clown posse that is the Internet should probably brace themselves for the backlash to the backlash. However, until such time as a #ReleaseThePhillipsCut petition materializes, let’s not forget that there’s an actual movie with Joker’s name on it to be discussed.
Phoenix and Fleck Rising
The first thing that needs to be said about Joker is that Joaquin Phoenix absolutely holds the screen, from start to finish. Director Todd Phillips has made a feel-bad movie that somehow manages to be gorgeously shot and scuzzy, all at the same time. Handsome panoramas of the cityscape help establish a Gotham without Batman, where a garbage strike has left trash piling up on the streets. Down in the gutters, dwells a man named Arthur Fleck.
Arthur is repellant at times but you can’t look away from him because Phoenix is a veritable junkyard magnet. His performance is riveting and the early Oscar buzz for it is well-deserved. If anyone could secure an awards nomination for playing the Joker after Heath Ledger, it would be Phoenix.
Ironically, the latest awards-friendly actor to inherit the Joker mantle was once in a place where his career itself had become something of a joke. After his seeming implosion on Late Night with David Letterman in February 2009, Phoenix became the punchline of a Ben Stiller gag at the 81st Academy Awards. On Letterman, he had announced that he was retiring from acting, crossing over, as actors sometimes do, into bearded hip-hop. If you tuned in on Oscar night, as people often don’t, you would have seen him laughed at by an audience of his peers.
As it turned out, his cringeworthy reinvention as a rapper was part of an Andy-Kaufman-esque, life-as-performance-art stunt for the mockumentary I’m Still Here. Then came his remarkable, animalistic turn in Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master, which revived his credibility and helped usher in a new heavyweight phase in his acting career. I say “heavyweight,” but of course, Phoenix had lost a lot of weight for the role of Freddie Quell, just as he has for Arthur Fleck. Maybe a better superlative would be “powerhouse.”
Now, ten years after his faux Letterman meltdown, we’re here in 2019. Phoenix, yes, is still here. He’s still got the goods, and just in case you forgot that line from his rap parody — “I don’t even fear fucking fear” — he’s not afraid to physically flaunt them: protruding his shoulder blades and rib cage like some demon-possessed person in a horror movie. His character, Arthur, exists miles underground from the penthouse where the Jack Napier of Jokers past could stand in front of a mirror and brush off compliments from beautiful blonde models “You look fine,” with a vain, “I didn’t ask.”
A different kind of narcissism festers within Arthur. In his daydreams and delusions, the world still revolves around him, but at one point, he confesses to his social worker, “All I have are negative thoughts.” He’s a sign-twirler who is terrorized by street kids and who loses his job after a gun comes spilling out of his clown costume at a children’s hospital. When he stands in his boss’s office and the camera lingers uncomfortably on his face, you can see his eyes light up with a spark of malevolence.
The movie positions Arthur — some say dangerously — as a Joker for the downtrodden. On the subway, he’s literally kicked while he’s down. At home, he sits in front of the TV and fantasizes about being in the studio audience for the late-night talk show “Live with Murray Franklin.” The nature of his fantasy life is such that the springy host, played by Robert De Niro, interrupts his monologue about super rats and super cats in Gotham City to tell Arthur, “There’s something special about you.”
Meanwhile, Arthur has designs on being a stand-up comedian, but since he suffers from an unspecified condition that produces fits of uncontrollable, wheezing laughter in him it’s a movie version of the pseudobulbar affect, a real-life neurological disorder, his giggles and guffaws are conspicuously out of synch with the world around him. Joker frames this most acutely in a scene at a comedy club where Arthur sits scrawling notes about another comedian’s act. His notebook/joke journal is full of misspellings and incoherent observations. Late in the movie, after we’ve seen him contemplating suicide, he refers back to the line, “I just hope my life makes more cents than my death.”
Since the pseudobulbar affect is caused by brain damage, we can read between the lines and assume that it’s manifestation in Arthur is a result of the abuse he suffered at the hands of his mother’s boyfriend. Flashback dialogue conveys the idea of him being chained to a radiator as a child. When he learns, via her old medical charts, that he’s adopted and she allowed this to happen to him, it’s enough to push him over the edge and get him to smother his mother with a pillow in the hospital.
Eventually, despite his matricidal tendencies, Arthur’s craggy face and sinewy body come into their own as the Joker with the best dance moves we’ve ever seen. He sees Fred Astaire dancing on television … raise your hand if you recognized the “Slap That Bass” number from Astaire’s 1937 film Shall We Dance. Arthur hears the opening lyrics: “The world is in a mess. Politics and taxes, people grinding axes. There’s no happiness.” It just goes to show that as much as the world has changed since 1937, there are still some things, like axe-grinding political or otherwise, that never do change.
It’s a mad, bad world, Joker seems to say. Shall We Dance is also a germane movie title because, in all the wrong ways, Arthur’s sadsack life becomes a kinetic answer to that rhetorical dance proposition. At times, there’s an almost balletic grace to his movements. It an interesting affectation on the part of Phoenix’s Joker, one that belies the neighbor-stalking, coworker-stabbing wreck that is the rest of Arthur’s life. Is it a surprise when Arthur’s supportive girlfriend, Sophie Zazie Beetz, turns out to be imaginary? Not really. The real Sophie lives down the hall from him, but their relationship, as shown, is wholly imaginary and that feels of a piece with his predicament.
I’ll confess to something: before Joker, I was ignorant of the very existence of an “involuntary celibate” subculture. I’m an American expat who lives in a country where mass shootings aren’t at all a thing. English isn’t the first language here, so I’m sometimes late to encounter new words that have entered the cultural lexicon. When I was reading advance reviews of Joker, it was suddenly incel this, incel that, and I had to research what they were talking about, because the reviews just took for granted that everyone knew what an incel was.
Affixing the incel label to Arthur Fleck in Joker might be reductive, insofar as it limits the thematic scope of the film to North America where most shootings attributed to incels have occurred and presupposes that angry Caucasians are the only lonely, sick males on planet Earth. I watched Joker with a Japanese audience and I doubt if many of the squirming heads in that audience were thinking about incels. They were probably thinking that Arthur seemed like the kind of guy who would carry out a knife attack at their local bus stop. Or the kind of guy who would set fire to an anime studio, killing three dozen people in one of the deadliest massacres in Japan’s post-war history. Entitlement, rage, mental illness … any of these might be better labels to apply to the case of Arthur Fleck.
The Clown of Wall Street
An important distinction to make with Arthur is that he starts out the movie, not as a sympathetic character, but a piteous one. There’s a difference. Joker takes us through the looking glass and shows us the dark inverse of The Wolf of the Wall Street. In the realm of Scorsese comparisons, that film, to me, is almost a more relevant touchstone vis-a-vis Joker.
The King of Comedy was once a lesser-known Scorsese film, but for the young and uninitiated, its connection to a high-profile comic book movie has increased its visibility around the watercooler as of late. It’s a good movie so that’s not a bad thing, but it shouldn’t be news to most cinephiles that Scorsese is a better filmmaker than Phillips. Joker wears its Scorsese influence on its sleeve and few, if any, filmmakers rise to Scorsese’s level, so comparing Phillips unfavorably to him is a pointless exercise. Now that the movie is in theaters, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to note the similarities between Arthur Fleck and Rupert Pupkin or, for that matter, Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, who also talks to himself and poses with guns in his apartment, albeit without the bumbling tendency to shoot holes in his wall like Arthur.
Thirteen months ago on /Film, I myself delved into The King of Comedy and how it and the graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke could inform the upcoming Joker origin movie. So when I sat down to watch Joker in the theater, the connection there with that old Scorsese film was old news to me. For this and other reasons intrinsic to the film, I found myself keying in more on The Wolf of Wall Street as a point of comparison with Joker.
The Wolf of Wall Street is a film that asks us to bask for three hours, no less in the presence of the cheerfully corrupt Jordan Belfort. It’s one of those movies that makes you realize a protagonist doesn’t always have to be likable to be watchable. The film begins with Belafort launching a dwarf at the screen. Joker, it should be noted, employs some humor at the expense of a bullied dwarf named Gary Leigh Gill, who played Tyrion’s stage double on Game of Thrones. Gary is less fetishized than Joker’s dwarf henchmen in The Killing Joke, and after driving a pair of scissors into his other co-worker’s neck and eye, Arthur winds up letting him live. Gary, it turns out, was the only person who was nice to the budding maniac at work.
More to the point, The Wolf of Wall Street doesn’t provide the audience with a strong moral counterpoint for Belfort. The closest we get to that is an FBI agent played by Kyle Chandler. At the end of the movie, this character is shown riding home on the subway like Arthur, looking around at the plebeians aboard public transportation with him. This happens right after he’s seen Belfort’s lawyer feather a sweet deal for him in court. Thirty-six months in federal prison: Belfort weasels away with a light sentence, because that’s the way of the world.
Joker is another film where the central figure is an unabashed villain. That he begins the movie in the guise of a pathetic antihero doesn’t make him any less of a villain by the time the closing credits roll. The dilemma for some viewers, therefore, becomes whether they really want to sit through a two-hour villain’s celebration.
Remember Satan’s Circus, the headquarters of Bill the Butcher in Gangs of New York? That’s the place where Jordan Belafort and Arthur Fleck live, too. It’s a place where Hollywood filmmakers are free to humanize and glamorize villains because, well, that’s entertainment. Transgressive art is nothing new and neither is the notion that it could provide unhealthy wish fulfillment for psychotics.
It’s not as though Joker is completely lacking in moral counterpoints. While Arthur is in the guest chair — talking about werewolf-ing out because “Everybody is awful these days,” and, “Nobody thinks what it’s like to be the other guy” — Murray Franklin does call him out on his self-pitying B.S. Franklin’s audience is none too enamored of the clown-faced talk show guest, either. There’s a separate layer to this scene that recalls the demolition-set awkwardness of Phoenix’s aforementioned Letterman appearance.
This being Joker’s movie, Arthur gets the last laugh when he shoots the host in the head. It’s meant to be a shocking act, but did anyone really think Arthur would turn the gun on himself? He’s too obsessed with himself to allow that to happen. Really, that’s all he cares about: himself. It’s one of the things that makes attempts at politicizing Joker, a story that only cares about itself, all the more futile, perhaps.
At the very beginning of the movie, Phoenix arches his eyebrow when he delivers the line, “Is it just me or is it getting crazier out there?” As a feature-length riff on this idea and others, Joker demonstrates that it does have a brain this, despite its star patterning his dance steps after the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz. What could have been a mercenary commercial endeavor turns out to be a film with some real artistic intent. Whether it not it achieves that intent is in the eye of the beholder, but you can’t refute it being there, colored in crayon strokes so broad that even us clowns in the blogosphere can read it.
T he Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, take a look at some of the Easter eggs and comic references that you might have missed in Joker with Joaquiin Phoenix. Plus, watch as professional Hollywood stuntmen react to explosions in Commando, fights in The Raid 2, and other movies, and also watch Aldo Jones create one of his weird versions of Avengers: Endgame.
Next, a new edition of Stuntmen React with Corridor Crew brings back Eric Linden to look back at stunts from Commando all the way back in 1985, the more recent martial arts of The Raid 2, the sword battles of Rob Roy, and one of the cool fights from Daredevil. Find out some things you may not know about stunt fights, including some of the tricks of the trade.
First up, now that Joker is in theaters, we can take a look at the various Easter eggs and comic book references made throughout. Obviously there are nods to Batman, those who helped create him and his arch nemesis at the center of the movie, and the kind of tidbits you’d expect in a DC Comics movie. But as Mr. Sunday Movies points out, there are also some other fun additions that come from Todd Phillips traditions and films.
Finally, after delivering his patented “Weird Version” of the Avengers: Endgame trailer, Aldo Jones digs deeper into the Marvel Studios movie by tackling some of the more spoilery scenes of the film and turning them into totally goofy sequences. Some of them involve Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man, others involve Thanos getting his dance on.
An audience at a screening of Joker on opening weekend self-evacuated a Long Beach theater after a man was acting suspiciously.
According to the Long Beach Post, police were dispatched to the Regal Edwards theater in Long Beach Towne Centre on Saturday after they received calls that there were shots coming from the theater. Long Beach police spokeswoman Arantxa Chavarria said that the moviegoers self-evacuated the theater because of a “suspicious subject inside.”
The official Long Beach Police Department posted a statement on their official Facebook page saying, “Officers were on scene within a minute of dispatch & discovered patrons had self-evacuated due to a suspicious male adult who was wearing a backpack and looking out at the crowd near an emergency exit inside the theater.”
They added, “The suspect was detained and was not found in possession of any weapons, however he was taken into custody for an unrelated outstanding warrant.”
This comes after the Cinemark Century Huntington Beach and XD cineplex closed on October 3 after receiving word of a “credible threat” surrounding the movie.
In the weeks leading up to the release of Joker, the Warner Bros. film has raised eyebrows in a year of mass shootings across the nation, along with its IP connection to the July 2012 shooting in Aurora, CO at the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises that killed 12 and wounded 70. Last month, several of the Aurora victims' families spoke out about concerns over the film. In response, Warner Bros sought to address those concerns and promised “it is not the intention of the film, the filmmakers or the studio to hold this character up as a hero.”
During the film’s premiere last week, there was ened security but luckily there were no threats. However, police from Los Angeles to New York still remained vigilant during opening weekend. Theater chains including AMC and Landmark have issued bans on masks being worn by patrons and other concealments. The Cinemark site's Joker listings page highlights its “costume policy” which states “that masks, hats, helmets that cover the face, and face painting are not allowed within the theatre or auditoriums. Additionally, simulated weapons are not permitted in the theatre or auditorium.”