I originally started writing this article at 1:38 am, but according to a number of sources I deemed it illogical to stay up further to finish writing it. Upon awakening I realized that what I had written was mostly just inconsistent babble and rambling. Now that I’ve been fully rested, had a shower and eaten breakfast, I feel I can adequately give this movie the praise it needs.
MY THING WITH MOVIES AND ALL THINGS POPULAR
I have never been a person who immediately follows hype. I don’t know if this stems from not fitting in too much in high school, or just from having parents who hated trends as well. Point being, I am usually 2 years late to the hype, sometimes even as little as 6 months. When it comes to movies, I find it difficult mentally to dedicate such a substantial amount of my time to sit and take in passive entertainment. If you’ve read my previous article about my fears, you’ll know time is terrifying to me. To each their own, but i feel like there’s much better things I could be doing with my time. Video games are excluded from this because they at least stimulate your mind to a certain degree.
While working, my coworker Beth pointed out that I am missing out on some great films. Her and her family will watch the Marvel movies back to back, looking for connections and just enjoying them altogether. In a way I am envious of the dedication and free spiritedness they exhibit from this behavior. I wish I had the ability just relax and enjoy some television. She suggested I watch them as well, going as far as to even write a list of the movies in order and which ones I could skip and still get the main plot. It seemed like such a daunting task so admittedly, I was hesitant. When she suggested one move, Joker, I felt like this was something I could take on without feeling too bad about it. That being said, it still took my two weeks because I am lazy.
But finally I said, fuck it, I will watch it this Friday night since I didn’t work the next day.
11:15 pm - The movie began playing
11:17 pm - I forgot to grab chips and lemonade
11:20 pm - why aren’t I watching with my speaker systems turned on. Oh wait, they’re not even working.
11:22 pm - Speakers fixed, movie playing again.
1:30 am - mind blown
So lets just get right into this now.
EMPATHIZING WITH THE VILLAIN
I went into this with the preconceived notion that this movie was going to turn me into a psychopathic theatre shooter. And to that, I say, f*ck the media. I in no way want to go kill people, or hurt people that have wronged me in the past. This is a movie, grow a brain.
What really shocked me though was just how much that I actually genuinely felt bad for Arthur. I have a cousin who was born mentally challenged. He is one of the kindest souls you’ll ever know. So I imagined him in the place of the Arthur and wow, the movie took on a whole new impact. You can see in the beginning half of the film that Arthur is no more harmful than a child, and sometimes I could even see him being one but trapped in an adult’s body. That makes the impact of everyone’s ridicule ten times worse. One scene that specifically stood out to me was when he lost his job and is talking to his boss in the phone booth. You could hear the hurt in his voice, losing what he held most dear to him. Arguably it is his own fault for bringing a gun to a hospital, but also you could say that he still wanted to protect himself from people who want to hurt him.
I genuinely felt bad for him though.
NOT REALLY A “BATMAN” FILM TO ME
I am not a major fan of superhero movies, especially ones of the DC variety. Marvel just has a more realistic, albeit still fictional take on the whole superhero thing. To me, DC is a lot more cartoony. For example Iron Man exists because an engineer built a suit for himself. Superman can fly and shoot frickin laser beams from his eyes just because. Yeah there’s a backstory for it but still, it’s just kind of weak to me.
What really appeals to me about the Joker though, is that it doesn’t really put impossible scenarios directly in your face. I feel that this movie’s chain of events could be completely plausible in real life. Literally, a guy with a mental disorder inadvertently starts a movie by killing innocent rich men. Today, the rich are some of the most hated people around, and there is already a movement about separating their power from them.
As a kid, I always wanted to lead protests, start movements and be a leader of a revolutionary group of individuals to take back the power for the poor. I could see myself being a general in a resistance. That’s part of the Poor Boy Syndrome I have and probably won’t ever happen that way. The whole anarchist style that the resistance had was really alluring. I would akin it’s style to Fight Club, another film that I also loved. Something about breaking all the rules and challenging others is just a very worthwhile endeavour. If you know me personally, you know I like to debate you into the ground, even if I know for a fact I am deada** wrong. I think this film appeals to the rebels in all of us. It especially appeals to the one of the most disadvantaged group of people in the world, the poor.
I did not go into watching this film with any expectations of what it could be, except for what I previously stated. I believe it is revolutionary in painting the mentally ill in a more empathetic light, instead of just sticking with the “lock them up” mentality. It is completely topical, being that mass shootings are on everyone’s minds more than ever because of mass media. We’re trying to figure out what the hell is actually going on. A lot people have theorized that it’s mainly because of lack of care for the “crazy” that we even have these shootings. There used to be more of a “they were bullied” theory but that’s beginning to shift. I believe now is another mental illness renaissance similar to the movement that Dorothea Dix started. People are now more empathetic than ever, and this movie shows it. Don’t be scared of ill people, try to help them. They don’t need to be shunned and ignored, they need to be heard and helped.
One thing I am not looking forward to is all the edgy middle-schoolers making sh*tty memes and false equivalencies to being crazy.
That being said- oh f*ck, I forgot to talk about Joaquin Phoenix. All I have to say is he is the perfect actor for the role.
That being said, go watch it if you haven’t, it’s not over-hyped.