I’ve already written a lot about the damned Joker movie, and how at this point is really does seem to be “about Todd Phillips himself: a sad, pathetic, mediocre white man who feels society has not given him his rightful due”.
As if to remove all doubt, as if his whining about “the far left” and “outrage” culture didn’t tell you already, he’s basically confessing to Joe Hagan in the new Vanity Fair.
[…] Phillips had found it increasingly difficult, he says, to make comedies in the new “woke” Hollywood, and his brand of irreverent bro humor has lost favor.
“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” he says. “There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore—I’ll tell you why, because all the fucking funny guys are like, ‘Fuck this shit, because I don’t want to offend you.’ It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter. You just can’t do it, right? So you just go, ‘I’m out.’ […]
Hagan then nails the movie as about “an alienated white guy whose failure to be funny drives him into a vengeful rage”. Superficially, there’s nothing wrong with that premise, although in the context of Phillips throwing around words like “the far left” and “woke culture” it clearly becomes a story about Phillip’s own sense of entitlement to success and support.
The problem comes from Phillips not having the courage of these privileged convictions by giving Arthur Fleck the “excuse” of being mentally ill. The same excuse Republicans and gun fanatics give any mass shooter who happens to be, like Phillips (and like me) white and male and mediocre.
Making a movie about male fragility and about toxic masculinity (what else but the latter is that story about Phillips conspiring to exclude a baby’s mother from set because she objected to the scene he wanted to shoot?) would be one thing. Masking it behind the clown makeup of some very problematic views on mental illness in order to hide your own tragicomic vulnerability is another.