We Didn’t Review ‘Joker’

Posted in Blog, Movies, Theatrical by - October 04, 2019
We Didn’t Review ‘Joker’

Every blog, website, or publication that covers movies would have probably released their review of Joker by now. Every one except for us. We never post mea culpas likes this but I felt it necessary since this is the biggest movie of the month. There’s a long story behind it, though. Todd Phillips’ cinematic take on the comic book super villain hit the festivals last month. We couldn’t go to Venice or Telluride because those festivals, I assume, don’t pay for the airfare. Toronto, I think, does, but that was unnecessary because we live here. However, I wanted to watch movies from my home country and other people’s home countries.

The demand to get into the press or public screenings at the festival was just too crazy and there were better ways to spend my time. These press screenings, by the way, were the first to have dissenting opinions about Joker, the first of many to come. Anyway, I can watch Joaquin Phoenix’s white face whenever I want.

Starting on Friday, October 4th, we can all watch Joaquin Phoenix’s white face six times a week at a Cineplex near you. Way to ruin Libra season. Our boss and editor Dave (Voigt) and myself had the opportunity to do so before everyone else; not only at the festival but in advance before it’s opening this week. The privilege (which we always appreciate) was there for us and Dave had every intent of attending, but fate ultimately interceded.  Don’t worry, he’s fine and being the ever stalwart partner in crime that he is he asked me to take his place but unfortunately it was both meal prep night and back and legs night so I couldn’t go.  You’re all now witness to one of the rare times I’ve turned a man down for both business AND pleasure.

The advance screening the other night certainly had an audience though;  Chris Knight from the National Post was there, who tweeted about people who didn’t even know Joaquin Phoenix’s other movies. There was a guy during TIFF who dressed up as Joker and lined up in the rain for seven hours to watch Joker and didn’t get in. I hope he got a ticket this time. Otherwise, it doesn’t feel like it was attended by much press (at least based on Film Twitter the other night) since everyone saw it at TIFF anyway.  Now I feel bad for not going, although the movie has enough publicity already.

That, however, won’t stop me from participating in the ever so rich discourse about Joker. Todd Phillips previously said that this was a remake of Taxi Driver, which is a remake of The Searchers. Both movies put their heroes in a tight scrutiny that I don’t think Phillips is capable of doing. But it got a 9.4 on iMDb and 62 on Metacritic so I guess I’m wrong.

Todd Phillips also recently said that “Comedy has been ruined by woke culture, everyone is too afraid to offend anyone else”. Which firstly, passive voice. Secondly, Taika Waititi gave a response to Phillips’ statement which, as curt as the former was, he wasn’t wrong. Taika is funny AND hot, and so am I, and so are a lot of people, despite how subjective comedic tastes are.

I don’t think Taika, I, or these funny people have to make Asian actors use heavy, stereotypical accents the way Phillips did in The Hangover. The Hangover sucks ass. On the other hand, Taika Waititi directs and stars in a comedy about Adolf Hitler which won TIFF’s Grolsch People’s Choice award.

My sister, who liked Venom, wants to watch Joker which, I told her to bring her boyfriend with her. A female critic who exists and is a friend of mine have tweeted about how uncomfortable she felt. That was specifically true when the white male audience around her was laughing at inappropriate scenes. Like one scene when able bodied white male characters were assaulting characters with Dwarfism. That anecdote reminds me of that time I watched Quentin Tarantino movies and how white male audiences were laughing during racist scenes. Another female critic has told me in person about the online harassment she experienced after submitting a negative review of it. Hearing from these female friends about their experiences made me weary of how my sister will experience the film in a theatrical setting by herself.

I also have a tentative date with a friend to watch Joker but that guy thought that Trump was funny. He also showed me a meme version of that picture of the four year old Syrian refugee who died on a Turkish beach. So I don’t want to watch that movie with him. He’s a Sagittarius. Guess who else was a Sagittarius – Josef Stalin.

Anyway, In The Seats is your home for movie related contests and reviews. Retrospectives, documentaries, and storytelling in streaming services are as exciting, if not more so, than your typical blockbuster. Dave wrote about the Goethe Institut’s retrospective on German gangster film. Court Jarrell saw Human Nature, which is about CRISPR, a new way to change human genetics. Tom and I are working on covering the Rendezvous with Madness Film Festival and Reelworld, which shows movies that empathizes towards marginalized groups instead of physically assaulting them. And I have to finish Unbelievable, about a society where women uplift each other.

As for Joker, we’ll get to it as soon as we can and I’m sure we’ll have our two cents to chip in eventually.   Meanwhile you can find my attempts at political humor here.

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While Paolo Kagaoan is not taking long walks in shrubbed areas, he occasionally watch movies and write about them. His credentials are as follows: he has a double major in English and Art History. This means that, for example, he will gush at the art direction in the Amityville house and will want to live there, which is a terrible idea because that house has ghosts. Follow him @paolokagaoan on Instagram but not while you're working.
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