So what I did on my Thanksgiving…

§ November 27th, 2020 § Filed under how the sausage is made, movie reviews § 16 Comments

…was not expose myself to unnecessary health risks, but stayed home, did some laundry, ate some homecooked food with my girlfriend, watched a movie, and switched over to a new desktop computer.

The “switching over to a new desktop computer” thing is what’s standing in the way of a proper update to this site here…I mean, I’m writing this post on the new computer right now, but I still have a few things to do to it to beat it into a shape I’m familiar with.

And “new” is perhaps not quite the right term…it’s a Mac Mini from 2010 which I know is half-past-dead in terms of computer lifespans, but my previous Mac Mini from 2009 was a pretty robust machine up until the CD/DVD drive decided to die out on me this week. In fact, the 2009 machine probably would have been fine to continue using as, aside from that particular mechanical failure, it was still chugging along swimmingly.

But since I had this 2010 Mac Mini here (given to me by my parents, as they upgraded to a newer machine a few years back), I just went ahead and made the switch.

It’s a stopgap measure, I realize…the last three or four Mac system software updates don’t seem to be installable on this particular Mac’s hardware configuration. And eventually, the programs I depend on will require more recent system updates. But for now, it’s fine…everything from the startup and the actual operation seems to be significantly faster, so I’m probably good for a while. Hopefully after my eyeball situation, and now my teeth situation, ha ha, come to some sort of resolution I can save up for a new home computron.

Anyway, that’s more than you probably wanted to know. Thankfully everyone’s too busy doing Black Friday stuff to read this.

Oh, and the movie I watched was Joker. Turned out the girlfriend got a year’s worth of free HBO as a promo thing from the cable company, and that comes with an HBO Max login, so I took a break from watching 50-year-old episodes of Sesame Street to watch the only DC Comics film to be nominated for a “Best Picture” Oscar. (And the second Joker portrayal to win an Oscar.)

It’s…certainly depressing. And a little horrifying. The cinematography was certainly excellent. Gotham definitely looked like a city that would need a guy who dressed like a bat to protect it someday. Watching Joaquin Phoenix play a guy who ultimately seemed doomed from the start was…affecting, worrying, and definitely appropriately cringe-y in parts. Removed from the real world concerns that surrounded its release, I’d recommend it as an interesting take on the character, but given the more social and political ramifications it feeds from, I can understand why folks would give it a pass.

I did see in an interview somewhere where (I think) the director of the film was intrigued by the idea of what kind of Batman would arise from the world created in this film, and I have to say…you know, I realize there’s no shortage of Batmanning in Hollywood, but I’d kinda like to see that too. Especially if it, like the Joker film, was told entirely from the point of view of the Joker. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see an adaptation of this series? I call dibs on playing Willie the Weeper.

(EDITED to correct my poor Oscars memories.)

16 Responses to “So what I did on my Thanksgiving…”

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    All right, I’ll be the guy: Heath Ledger’s award was for “Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role,” not “in a Leading Role.”

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    I will throw in: I recall Warner campaigning to get Nicholson a nomination for the role as well. I wonder if this failed because of confusion as to whether this was a leading or supporting role led to the votes being split.

    I was too young to notice such things at the time, so I have no idea how close Cesar Romero came to a nomination. (Okay, that was just a joke, but it occurs to me now that many-times-nominated Burgess Meredith might actually have had a shot.)

  • Giant Spider in the 3rd Act says:

    I’ll be that guy and say Joker didn’t win Best Picture (but was nominated).

  • Mike: Clicking on that link, I just realized how much that cover looks like “The Joker’s Five-Way Revenge” (BATMAN #254 or so), the first Joker as killer story.

    Of course, DC knew what they were doing. But it took me 25 years to make the connection.

  • Mikester says:

    Okay, fixed my Oscar references. Hey, I found a way to get comments, anyway!

  • Daniel says:

    I loved “Joker.” Say what you will about DC’s films, but they almost always swing for the fences and try something different, interesting, and stylishly artful. Sometimes they strike out (Suicide Squad, Aquaman, Birds of Prey), but often they hit it out of the park (The Dark Knight Trilogy, MoS, BvS, WW, Joker).

    Whereas Marvel’s films are all…fine. They’re perfectly entertaining, but they’re also formulaic and have a sameness about them. They rarely take chances and (as a result) have never hit a home run. But they also rarely strike out (Thor Ragnarok being the exception (a truly awful, awful film)).

  • King of the Moon says:

    Whoa whoa whoa

    Birds of Prey was a miss?

    BoP is the second best DCEU film. Beaten only by Wonder Woman.

  • JohnJ says:

    I saw the “Joker” preview when I went to “Spider-Man: Far From Home” and hated it immediately, thinking this is a movie I will never want to see. I’ve stuck to my guns and tried to ignore it. Jacquin’s awards did not change my mind.
    Anyway, I disagree with so many of Daniel’s choices on good and bad movies that it just shows you how totally subjective the whole “taste” thing is.
    For example, “Thor: Ragnarok” was the best Thor movie so far and I’m happy that the same crew is doing the next one. Natalie Portman will make a great female Thor.

  • Rob Staeger says:

    I’m with you, John. Daneil’s contention that Ragnarok is awful makes me feel pretty secure in my decision not to see Joker. Glad it worked for him, but we’re clearly VERY different audiences.

  • Chris V says:

    The Joker movie reminded me quite a lot of Taxi Driver.

  • Thom H. says:

    There is a real sameness to Marvel movies, I agree. But they were trying for a unified feel, and for a while even a unified, long-form story, so that makes more sense for them.

    Continuity is pretty tight even in some of the more “stand-alone” Marvel movies (like Ragnarok), so you can’t deviate from the overall vibe too much. They could stand to change up the story structure a bit, though.

    And I think “swinging for the fences” is a great way to characterize the DC films. The only problem is when DC does try to unify their films by saddling characters with tones that don’t suit them. The worst part of either Cavill Superman film (as well as parts of Wonder Woman and Justice League) were when they tried to make everyone as grim and gritty as Batman.

    Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and even the Flash, are harder to separate from their Golden and Silver Age origins than Batman. By which I mean that it’s easier to update Batman by making his stories dark, cynical, and part of a recognizably “real” setting.

    Part of the fun of the other characters is that they exist in amazing fantasy worlds (alien planets, mythological islands, ocean depths). Why drag those into our mundane reality when you could really go wild with imagination? Having WW swing from lightning bolts with her magic lasso in the 1984 trailer, for example, is a step in the right direction for the character. At least in my book. If anything, the DC movies should lean into differentiating their characters even more.

  • JohnJ says:

    “Shazam” was another good effort at lightening up the DC verse. I hope they don’t spoil it with the “Black Adam” movie. Dwayne Johnson has had as many flops as successes.
    For the people tired of both universes in the movies, this year has been wonderful for them. Only one Marvel movie and Wonder Woman 84 will be only the second DC. It’s gonna be hard for both companies to resist piling them into the theaters after we all get vaccinated and feel like going out to movies again.

  • Phillip Lozano says:

    The thing about Joker, other than the fact that it mashes together scorsese’s taxi driver and the king of comedy, is that it establishes that we really should take better care of the mentally ill, or else they will rise up and murder us all. Somehow, that doesn’t seem like oscar-worthy content. Seems like right wing propaganda.

  • Chris V says:

    Uhh…the point wasn’t that the mentally ill should be “taken care of” as in put to death.

    It was an indictment of the way that society treats its most vulnerable.
    Then, the message is that a sick society leads to its own decay.

    You had a billionaire running for mayor, saying that everyone who isn’t successful and doesn’t realize it is solely their own fault for not being good enough is a clown. Straight out of Ayn Rand.

    The city cuts funding leading to the closure of the social services program which helps the main character acquire the medication he needs for help with his mental health problems.

    If it were Right-Wing propaganda, it would have shown how the good mentally ill person got a job and paid for his own medicine, while the whiny parasitic mentally ill man tried to blame society for his problems before he is rightfully killed by the cops.

  • Snark Shark says:

    Daniel: “Whereas Marvel’s films are all…fine. They’re perfectly entertaining, but they’re also formulaic and have a sameness about them”

    I get the same feeling about most of the ones that I’ve seen. Except for one of the Hulk movies, which just sucked.

  • Robcat says:

    So what we’ve learned is that

    1- Your favorite movie was hated by someone else.
    2- That movie you hate? Some one else’s favorite.