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How about another joke, Murray? Joker (2019)

How about another joke, Murray? Joker (2019) Description

How about another joke, Murray?: Joker is a 2019 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Todd Phillips, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scott Silver. The film, based on DC Comics characters, stars Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker and provides an alternative origin story for the character. Set in 1981, it follows Arthur Fleck, a failed clown and stand-up comedian whose descent into insanity and nihilism inspires a violent counter-cultural revolution against the wealthy in a decaying Gotham City.

Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy, Brett Cullen, Glenn Fleshler, Bill Camp, Shea Whigham, and Marc Maron appear in supporting roles. Joker was produced by Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Films, and Joint Effort, in association with Bron Creative and Village Roadshow Pictures, and distributed by Warner Bros.

Phillips conceived How about another joke Joker in 2016 and wrote the script with Silver throughout 2017. The two were inspired by 1970s character studies and the films of Martin Scorsese (particularly Taxi Driver and The King of Comedy), who was initially attached to the project as a producer. The film loosely adapts plot elements from Batman: The Killing Joke (1988) and The Dark Knight Returns (1986), but Phillips and Silver otherwise did not look to specific comics for inspiration.

Phoenix became attached in February 2018 and was cast that July, while the majority of the cast signed on by August. Principal photography took place in New York City, Jersey City, and Newark, from September to December 2018. Joker is the first live-action theatrical Batman film to receive an R-rating from the Motion Picture Association.

How about another joke Joker premiered at the 76th Venice International Film Festival on August 31, 2019, where it won the Golden Lion, and was released in the United States on October 4, 2019. The film polarized critics. Although Phoenix’s performance, the musical score, and the cinematography were praised, the dark tone, portrayal of mental illness, and handling of violence divided opinion and generated concerns of inspiring real-world violence; the movie theater where the 2012 Aurora, Colorado mass shooting occurred during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises refused to show it. Despite this,

How about another joke Joker became a major box office success and set records for an October release. It grossed over $1 billion, the first and only R-rated film to do so, the sixth-highest-grossing film of 2019, and the 31st-highest-grossing film of all time.

How about another joke Joker received numerous accolades. At the 92nd Academy Awards, the film earned a leading 11 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director, winning Best Actor for Phoenix (who became the second actor to win an Oscar for portraying the Joker following Heath Ledger in 2009) and Best Original Score for Hildur Guðnadóttir. Phoenix and Guðnadóttir also won at the Golden Globe and BAFTA Award ceremonies.

Plot

In 1981, party clown and aspiring stand-up comedian Arthur Fleck lives with his mother, Penny, in Gotham City. Gotham is rife with crime and unemployment, leaving swaths of the population disenfranchised and impoverished. Arthur suffers from a medical disorder that causes him to laugh at inappropriate times, depending on social services for medication. After a gang of delinquents attacks Arthur in an alley, his co-worker Randall gives him a gun for protection. Arthur pursues a relationship with his neighbor, single mother Sophie Dumond, and invites her to his upcoming stand-up routine at a nightclub.

While entertaining at a children’s hospital, Arthur’s gun falls out of his pocket. Randall lies that Arthur bought the gun himself, and Arthur is fired. On the subway, still in his clown makeup, Arthur is beaten by three drunken Wayne Enterprises businessmen; he shoots two in self-defense and wounds the third before pursuing him off the train and executing him on the stairs.

The killings are condemned by billionaire mayoral candidate Thomas Wayne, who calls those envious of more successful people “clowns”. Demonstrations against Gotham’s rich begin, with protesters donning clown masks in Arthur’s image. Funding cuts shutter the social service program, leaving Arthur without his medication.

Sophie attends Arthur’s stand-up routine, which goes poorly; he laughs uncontrollably and has difficulty delivering his jokes. Arthur’s idol, popular talk show host Murray Franklin, mocks Arthur by showing clips from the comedy routine on his show. Arthur intercepts a letter written by Penny to Thomas, alleging that he is Thomas’s illegitimate son, and berates his mother for hiding the truth.

Arthur goes to Wayne Manor, where he meets Thomas’s young son Bruce, but flees after a scuffle with the family butler Alfred Pennyworth. Following a visit from two Gotham City Police Department detectives investigating Arthur’s involvement in the train murders, Penny suffers a stroke and is hospitalized.

Arthur sneaks into a private event and confronts Thomas, who tells him that Penny is delusional and not his biological mother. In denial, Arthur visits Arkham State Hospital and steals Penny’s case file; the file says Penny adopted Arthur as a baby and allowed her abusive boyfriend to harm them both. However, Penny claims that Thomas used his influence to fabricate the adoption to hide their affair. Distraught, Arthur returns home and enters Sophie’s apartment unannounced. Frightened, Sophie tells him to leave; their relationship was merely a figment of Arthur’s imagination. The following day, Arthur kills Penny at the hospital.

Arthur is invited to appear on Murray’s show due to the unexpected popularity of his comedy routine’s clips. As he prepares, Arthur is visited by ex-colleagues Randall and Gary. Arthur murders Randall but spares Gary for treating him well in the past. En route to the studio, Arthur is pursued by the two detectives onto a train filled with clown protesters. One detective accidentally shoots a protester and incites a riot, allowing Arthur to escape; the rioters brutally beat the detectives as Arthur leaves.

Before the show goes live, Arthur requests that Murray introduce him as How about another joke Joker, a reference to Murray’s previous mockery. Arthur walks out to applause, but starts telling morbid jokes, confesses to the train murders, and rants about how society abandons the downtrodden and mentally ill. When Murray criticizes him and threatens to call the police, Arthur shoots him twice on live TV, killing him; he is arrested for murder as riots break out across Gotham.

One of the rioters corners the Wayne family in an alley and murders Thomas and his wife, Martha, sparing Bruce. Rioters in an ambulance crash into the police car carrying Arthur, freeing him; he stands atop the car, dances to the cheers of the crowd, and smears blood on his face in the form of a smile.

At Arkham, Arthur laughs to himself about a joke and tells his psychiatrist she would not understand it. He runs from orderlies, leaving behind a trail of bloodied footprints.

Cast

  • Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck / Joker: A mentally ill, impoverished clown and stand-up comedian disregarded by society, whose history of abuse causes him to become a nihilistic criminal. Phoenix had been interested in a low-budget “character study” of a comic book character, and said the film “feels unique, it is its own world in some ways, and maybe […] It might as well be the thing that scares you the most.” Phoenix lost 52 pounds (24 kg) in preparation, and based his laugh on “videos of people suffering from pathological laughter.” He also sought to portray a character who audiences could not identify with and did not look to previous Joker actors for inspiration; instead, he read a book about political assassinations so he could understand killers and motivations. Director Todd Phillips said that he intentionally left it ambiguous as to whether Arthur becomes the actual Joker as seen in traditional Batman stories or inspires a separate character, although Phoenix believes that Arthur is the former.
  • Robert De Niro as Murray Franklin: A talk show host who plays a role in Arthur’s downfall. De Niro said his role in Joker pays homage to his character from The King of Comedy (1983), Rupert Pupkin, who is a comedian obsessed with a talk-show host.
  • Zazie Beetz as Sophie Dumond: A cynical single mother and Arthur’s “love interest”. Beetz, a “huge fan” of Phoenix, said that it was “an honor” to co-star with him, and that she learned a lot working with him on set.
  • Frances Conroy as Penny Fleck: Arthur’s mentally and physically ill mother, who formerly worked for Thomas Wayne. The Canadian actress Hannah Gross portrays a young Penny.
  • Brett Cullen as Thomas Wayne: A billionaire running for mayor of Gotham. Unlike in the comics, Thomas plays a role in the Joker’s origins and is less sympathetic than traditional incarnations. Alec Baldwin was initially cast in the role but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Carrie Louise Putrello portrays Thomas’s wife Martha, although the character has no lines nor is referred to by name. Douglas Hodge plays Alfred Pennyworth, the butler and caretaker of the Wayne family, and Dante Pereira-Olson plays Bruce Wayne, Thomas’ son, who becomes the Joker’s archenemy Batman as an adult.

Additional cast members include: Glenn Fleshler and Leigh Gill as Randall and Gary, Arthur’s clown co-workers; Bill Camp and Shea Whigham as detectives Garrity and Burke in the Gotham City Police Department; Marc Maron as Gene Ufland, a producer on Franklin’s show; Josh Pais as Hoyt Vaughn, Arthur’s agent; Brian Tyree Henry as a clerk at Arkham State Hospital; Ben Warheit, Michael Benz, and Carl Lundstedt as bankers who harass Arthur; Gary Gulman as a comedian; and Bryan Callen as Javier, a co-worker of Arthur. Justin Theroux has an uncredited cameo as Ethan Chase, a celebrity guest on Franklin’s show.

Music

In August 2018, Hildur Guðnadóttir was hired to compose the film’s score. Hildur began writing music after reading the script and meeting with Phillips, who “had a lot of strong ideas” about how he thought the score should sound. She worked on the How about another joke Joker score alongside the score for the drama miniseries Chernobyl; Hildur said switching between the two was challenging because the scores were so different. Additionally, the film features the songs “That’s Life”, “Send In the Clowns”, “White Room,” and “Rock and Roll Part 2”.

The use of “Rock and Roll Part 2” generated controversy when it was reported that its singer Gary Glitter (a convicted sex offender) would receive royalties, but it was later confirmed he would not. The score was released on October 2, 2019 by WaterTower Music. Hildur’s music won numerous awards including an Academy Award, a Satellite Award, a Saturn Award, the Hollywood Music in Media Awards (HMMA) and the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score, with the latter making her the first woman to win as a solo composer in that category.

Release

Marketing

Phillips promoted the How about another joke film by posting on set photos on his Instagram account. On September 21, 2018, he released test footage of Phoenix in-costume as the Joker, with “Laughing” by The Guess Who accompanying the footage At CinemaCon on April 2, 2019, Phillips unveiled the first trailer for the film, which was released online the following day. The trailer, prominently featuring the song “Smile” performed by Jimmy Durante, generated positive responses, with some commentators comparing it to Taxi Driver and Requiem for a Dream and praising Phoenix’s performance.

Writers described the trailer as dark and gritty, with ComicBook.com‘s Jenna Anderson feeling it appeared more like a psychological thriller than a comic book film. Actor Mark Hamill, who has voiced the How about another joke Joker since the 1992 cartoon Batman: The Animated Series, expressed enthusiasm on Twitter. Conversely, io9‘s Germain Lussier said the trailer revealed too little and that it was too similar to photos Phillips had posted on Instagram. While he still believed it exhibited potential, Lussier overall thought the trailer was not “a home run.” The trailer received over eight million views in the first few hours of release.

On August 25, 2019, Phillips released six brief teasers that contained flashes of writing, revealing the second trailer would be released on August 28. Filmmaker Kevin Smith commended the trailer, stating he thought the film “would still work even if [DC Comics] didn’t exist” and praising its uniqueness. Overall, Deadline Hollywood estimated that Warner Bros. spent $120 million on promotion and advertisements.

Home media

Joker was released on Digital HD on December 17, 2019, and on DVD, Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray on January 7, 2020. It debuted on HBO on May 16, 2020, and on HBO Max when it launched on May 27, 2020.

Cultural impact

During a Five Star Movement event in October 2019, Italian comedian and politician Beppe Grillo gave a speech wearing the Joker’s makeup. References to the character were also found in anti-government protests worldwide. During the 2019–20 Lebanese protests, a group of graffiti artists called Ashekm painted a mural of the Joker holding a Molotov cocktail, and it was also reported that there was a How about another joke Joker facepaint station at the protests in Beirut.

In Los Ángeles, Chile, during the 2019–20 Chilean protests, the phrase “We are all clowns”, which is adopted by Gotham City protesters in the movie, was written at the foot of a statue. In Hong Kong, protesters challenged an emergency decree prohibiting the wearing of masks by wearing those of fictional characters such as the Joker. In France, during the Yellow Vest Protests, firefighters donned How about another joke Joker makeup and set themselves on fire as they fought in the streets against the police.

One of the locations seen in the film, a set of stairs in the Bronx, New York City, has been dubbed the Joker Stairs. The stairs have become a tourist destination and the subject of Internet memes, with visitors often reenacting the scene from the How about another joke film in which Fleck dances down the stairs in his Joker attire.

Future

How about another joke Joker was intended to be a standalone film with no sequels, although Warner Bros. intended for it to launch DC Black, a line of DC Comics-based films unrelated to the DCEU with darker, more experimental material. While Phillips said in August 2019 that he would be interested in making a sequel, depending on the film’s performance and if Phoenix is interested, he later clarified that “the movie’s not set up to [have] a sequel. We always pitched it as one movie, and that’s it.”

In October 2019, Phoenix spoke to Peter Travers of possibly reprising the role of Arthur, centering around Travers’ asking of Phoenix if he considers Joker to be his “dream role.” Phoenix stated, “I can’t stop thinking about it … if there’s something else we can do with Joker that might be interesting,” and concluded, “It’s nothing that I really wanted to do prior to working on this movie. I don’t know that there is [more to do] … Because it seemed endless, the possibilities of where we can go with the character.”

On November 20, 2019, The Hollywood Reporter announced that a sequel was in development, with Phillips, Silver, and Phoenix expected to reprise their duties; however, Deadline Hollywood reported the same day that The Hollywood Reporter‘s story was false and that negotiations had not even begun. Phillips responded to the reports by saying that he had discussed a sequel with Warner Bros. and it remained a possibility, but it was not in development.

Phillips also confirmed that the upcoming film The Batman would not be set in the same continuity as How about another joke Joker. During an interview with Variety at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, Phillips expressed interest in a spin-off focusing on Batman, saying, “It’s a beautiful Gotham. What I would like to see someone tackle is what Batman looks like from that Gotham. I’m not saying I’m going to do that. What was interesting to me about the inclusion of Batman in our movie was, ‘What kind of Batman does that Gotham make?’ That’s all I meant by that.”

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How about another joke, Murray? Joker (2019) Image

About How about another joke, Murray? Joker (2019)

Genre Crime, Drama, Thriller
Directed By Todd Phillips
Screenplay by Todd Phillips, Scott Silver
Produced by Todd Phillips, Bradley Cooper, Emma Tillinger Koskoff
Based on Characters by DC Comics
Music Hildur Guðnadóttir
Release Date August 31, 2019 (Venice) - October 4, 2019 (United States)
Runtime 2h 2min
Starring Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz, Frances Conroy
Country United States
Language English
Production Company Warner Bros. Pictures, DC Films, Joint Effort, Bron Creative, Village Roadshow Pictures
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Budget $55–70 million
Box office $1.074 billion
Aspect Ratio 1.85 : 1
Official Site https://www.instagram.com/jokermovie/
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