Monday, October 7, 2019

Review: Joker and the Ending Explained

Before I begin, I want to address something. To all of you Blue Check-Marks on Twitter and all the left-leaning media sites: You are a part of the problem that you fear so much. Why? Because you dehumanize people into lists that fit into 280 character limits leaving no room for empathy. And we're all tired of your narratives being pushed into the spotlight and presented as mainstream. Your cult of social "justice" is on the fringe, too. And your niche might be bigger than others, but it's not popular opinion. You don't speak for us, and you need to quit pretending to.

I just want anyone reading this who's mentally ill, poor and white, or maybe an actual incel to know that I don't hate you. I don't think the world hates you, either. And the Joker scares them because they don't want to understand anyone. That would lead to knowledge, knowledge that could break their religious, brainwashed zealotry—that they are everything good and just, in the world.

The Joker is not a film about any sort of agenda you believe in, either. You can project whatever you want, onto it. But if you really want to know what the joker is ... it's when you're not feeling confident in your appearance. Maybe you've gained a lot of weight, gotten old, your hair is thinning, or your skin broke out the night before. It's whatever that thing is that makes you look away from your naked body's reflection when passing the bathroom mirror. But this time, you can't turn your head, and you're forced to stare straight into all your insecurities, in crystal clarity. That is the essence of the Joker.

Joker isn't the first movie to do this, by far. You've probably read comparisons to King of Comedy or Taxi Driver, but I'd like to offer up a different film if you're into this stuff, and that's 1993's, Naked. Maybe I'll even do a review on that, someday. It is, however, really amazing that they went to these lengths on a comic book character. It would make the few legit, real writers of comics, like Alan Moore, proud.

Arthur Fleck's Joker isn't in most of the movie. What we see is a heavily medicated, emaciated guy beaten down further and further into hiding within himself. And the film not only acknowledges this, it's commanded by it. You're not getting a story written about the Joker. You're getting a story written by the Joker. This is an autobiography, a memory of what it was like to be Arthur Fleck.

His uncontrollable, painful laugh pops up while he's having negative experiences. And this same laugh can be heard, forced, when he's responding to fairly lame jokes. It tells us, early on, that he's not wired like a normal person. His comedy is in pain and tragedy, much like how a masochist derives pleasure from pain. In fact, it tells us he's really struggling to be someone he's not. Arthur even asks for more medication to try to feel normal, and even states that he doesn't feel real.

This is a better, infinitely more complex version of Pagliacci. We have a clown, someone who only desires to bring joy into people's lives, suffering for no reason other than circumstance, which is heartbreaking, in its nature. And honestly, Joaquin Phoenix absolutely delivers the performance of a lifetime. If this doesn't move you at all, you are a broken person.

A tear runs down Arthur as he forces himself to smile.

My only problem with this Joker is that he tries to explain himself a little too much. I feel like the Joker is beyond caring about that. And it's forgivable because Arthur is new at the role when we finally see him take on that mantle. The Joker I know would have gone on the night talk-show, took his time looking up the joke, said knock knock, and then the punchline would have been shooting Robert De Niro, in the face, while laughing at the audience's screams. That, honestly, was my only real issue.

The ending:
This doesn't spoil anything. It's subjective. The Joker is in Arkham, and he's talking to the same therapist he was seeing as Arthur Fleck. It's weird that she would have become a psychiatrist though and working at an institution for the criminally insane. But, then again, she could have been injected into the role of his past therapist. It does, most definitely, take place after the story. Personally, however, I would have rather seen Harley Quinn there.

The entire movie is thus presented as a memory of Joker's. The last scene, before his laughing starts, is of Bruce Wayne's parents being gunned down in the alleyway. While we see the film as a tragedy mixed with horror, he sees it as hysterically funny. It's literally just a passing thought while speaking to his shrink about something else. She asks him what's so funny, and he responds that he just thought of a funny joke. It then cuts to him dance-walking, down the hallway, leaving a trail of bloody footprints and eventually being chased by orderlies.

What we're left with is a very biased look at Arthur's life from the Joker. He sees Arthur as a pathetic, oppressed, idiotic loser and outright laughs at his misfortunes. And all the dancing and celebratory gestures is self adulation from the Joker's rise and Arthur's death.

Arthur is dead. There is only The Joker.
The movie doesn't glorify the violence it portrays. If anything, it's mostly unexpected and not presented as a reasonable "action movie" response to the situation, like Kill Bill or John Wick. It does, however, touch on how society fails the mentally ill. And that's a hard pill to swallow for a lot of people, but yours truly has seen it over and over, in my life. And the Joker does not mock the mentally ill or make light of anything. In fact, it sheds light on how horrible we treat them. The Joker leaves me with only one thought, and it's what Vonnegut would often write, "so it goes."

Friday, January 30, 2015

An Honest Review of TaeKwonDo From a Student

I've had an off and on relationship with the martial arts almost my entire life. And about seven months ago I enrolled, for the first time, in TaeKwonDo. Before I actually learned it, the only thing I really knew about the martial art came from video games like Tekken and The King of Fighters. Also, it was featured in one of my favorite, cheesy martial arts movies, The Best of the Best.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Amazing Stories: All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Writer

Trying to be a successful writer can be quite difficult. For those of us who hold day jobs, doubly so. My wife is a good example of someone who can hold down a job, come home, and be creative. It’s why she’s published; it’s why she’s a best seller. I, on the other hand, have always struggled to come home, after a shift, and pick up the pen.
Continue Reading on (Amazing Stories)

An Analysis of My Twisted World by Elliot Rodgers

Before I get into anything, I don't really recommend reading this. Although several media outlets have called this work a manifesto, which it is in part, it's more of an autobiography, really. But if you're thinking of educating yourself as to what sort of horrors it must take to turn a young boy into a mass murderer and serial killer, I'll save you the time as this book is mostly filled with banal non events and the rantings of a misanthropic malcontent.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Top 6 Things that Never Need to be Said

6. I'm sick with (ex: the flu).
Oh, I didn't know. I thought you were well with the flu. You can add whatever illness you want to this one, but if you say this, you should get checked for redundancy.

5. Washed Off
Really? As opposed to washing it on?

4. It was a dark night.
I can't count how many times I've heard or read variations of this phrase. A Wrinkle in Time even starts out with this cliche. Night is dark by definition. Sure, some nights are darker than others, depending on the cloud coverage and phase of the moon, but it's the most non descriptive description, ever. You're not really saying anything!

3. Tuna Fish:
Oh, you're eating a tuna FISH sandwich. My mistake, I thought you were having the tuna beef.

2. I have the hiccups.
Seriously, you weren't just faking them?

1. I'm Back.
Even with online conversations, I think people can figure this one out for themselves.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Top 5 Reasons Adults Still Suck at Video Games

There was this time, way back, when I’d laugh at the idea of my parents playing a videogame. I mean, sure, they had some fun with Pacman and Mario Bros., but it was a novelty for them. Naturally, us kids were better because we took to it with the obsessive, hedonistic passion that would’ve made Aleister Crowley proud. So, with all those childhood hours invested, surely we haven’t become the ham-handed controller wielding doppelgangers of our technologically unhip, parents – have we? I hate to break it to you, but here’s five reasons why you now suck at video games.
Continue reading on Amazing Stories.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Amazing Stories: Being a Geek Today vs Yesterday

The emperor stands before an AT-AT, which rests on the TV stand above a David Tennant Years box set of Doctor Who, above Star Trek: TNG seasons. To my left is a life size replica of R2D2. To my right are book shelves, populated by the likes of Asimov, Card, Clarke, Herbert, Huxley, Lovecraft, Orwell, Martin, Tolkien, etc. But take a closer look, and you’ll find a contact juggling ball, a chain-mail bag filled with gaming dice, two sonic screwdriver replicas, Star Trek insignia badges, little dolls of Einstein and Tesla, an RC helicopter, and a homemade replica of one of Tom Baker’s giant scarves, acting as the cherry to this layer cake of dorkness.

Continue reading on Amazing Stories.