"you know i hate politics" -- michelle obama
music friday: jazz at the fillmore, 1967

what i watched

Joker (Todd Phillips, 2019). Interesting, unpleasant take on comic book evil. Joaquin Phoenix does wonders in the title role ... it's clearly intended as Oscar bait (and it worked ... he won the Oscar over Antonio Banderas and others), but Phoenix doesn't take the easy route. He's showy in that Oscar way, but he never invites us in, never turns sympathetic. Compared to the charisma of Jack Nicholson (or Cesar Romero, for that matter), Phoenix's Joker is practically another character. That character is Rupert Pupkin from The King of Comedy, a clear influence on Joker.

There's little attempt to blame society for Joker's problems ... whatever social commentary sneaks into the movie is mostly unrelated to the story of Arthur Fleck, a disturbed individual (although his presence does create the environment for rioting mobs). Arthur had an abusive father and a schizophrenic mother. Phoenix dives right in, and it's something to behold, but as I say, it's unpleasant. I don't know why anyone would watch this a second time. If I did, I might examine why I find Taxi Driver so much better than this film. #919 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don't They list of the top 1000 films of the 21st century.

Not that it explains anything, but if you watch this scene, note that Arthur works as a clown (hence the outfit), and he suffers from a disorder where he laughs at inappropriate moments.

Geezer Cinema: Project Power (Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman, 2020). By-the-numbers futuristic action film with sci-fi elements. Jamie Foxx is allowed to have charisma, and Joseph-Gordon Levitt is good, as always, but Dominique Fishback (The Deuce) steals the film. The rationale for the plot (pills that offer five minutes of superpowers) is silly, although I don't know that anyone making the movie cared. The special effects are solid, it's a passable way to waste two hours, and it sets up a possible sequel. I can't wait.

(Letterboxd list of our Geezer Cinema movies.)


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