DC’s Joker sparked something in Hollywood. Not only did it become the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time and win multiple Academy Awards, including one for Joaquin Phoenix’s insane performance, but it also inspired the industry to focus more movies on villains. This includes Disney’s upcoming Cruella movie, which is already being compared to Todd Phillips’ Joker film. It’s safe to say that the movie was one of the best of 2019, but does director Quentin Tarantino agree?
Quentin Tarantino is one of those directors who doesn’t shy away from controversy. While these controversies tend to come from his critically-acclaimed movies, they also stem from his opinions. Say what you want about Quentin, but he’s opinionated… especially about movies. And given his resume, he has a right to be. This is what he thought about Todd Phillips’ Joker movie…
Criticisms Aside, This One Element Of Joker Was Brilliant, According To Quentin
During a fantastic three-hour conversation on The Empire Movie podcast with Baby Driver director Edgar Wright, Quentin Tarantino went into detail about what exactly he thought of The Joker. Quentin, of course, is a massive movie buff and sees just about everything out there including big Hollywood movies. In fact, he has publically praised some mainstream projects that haven’t exactly received the favor of critics, including Promethus.
The Joker, however, is a movie that was almost universally loved. In the conversation on The Empire Movie Podcast, Quentin seems to have some legitimate criticisms of the movie. Although, there was one thing about it that he thought was utterly genius…
“Subversion on a massive level,” Quentin Tarantino said of the one element of Joker that he thought was one of the best things he’s seen in a long time. “Audience response. Cause and effect on the screen. Feeling the atmosphere in the theater change. Getting to where you’re going, as far as movies are concerned. We’ve talked about all these things… The talk show sequence in the Joker encompasses all of these things on a profound… a profound level. A level that I think is over most viewers’ heads.”
Quentin claimed that this scene was beyond suspense. In the theater he saw it in, the moment changed the audiences’ perspective of the whole story leading up to it.
“The director subverts the audience because the Joker is a nut,” Quentin explained. “Robert De Niro’s talk show character is not a movie villain. He seems like an a**hole. But he’s not any more of an a**hole than David Letterman. You know, he’s just an a**hole comedian talk show guy. He’s an a**hole David Letterman-type. He’s not a movie villain. He’s doesn’t deserve to die. You know, he’s just an a**hole. And people like a**hole comedians. Yet, while the audience in the movie theater is watching The Joker, they want him to kill Robert De Niro. They want him to take that gun and stick it in his eye blow the back of his head off. And if The Joker didn’t kill him… You would be p***ed off. That is subversion on a massive level. They got the audience to think like a lunatic. And they will lie about it and say, ‘No I didn’t’. And they’re liars.”
The Criticisms Quentin Had For Joker
Quentin claimed that he liked the movie while watching it for the first time. He didn’t think it was anything amazing. He was wondering about the fact that Joker was directly influenced by The King of Comedy and Taxi Driver. While in the theater, Quentin said that he was having a conversation with himself about whether most movies nowadays were reinventions of famous 1970s flicks.
“Taxi Driver is the Joker. Apocalpyse Now is Ad Astra. Is everything some weird pop-culture artifact?”
This wasn’t necessarily a criticism, just more of an observation. However, Quentin did feel that the film was really one-noted. Although he did think it moved really fast.
“The movie actually tells its story pretty efficiently. Then it gets to the talk show scene and you feel the entire atmosphere in the theater change.”
While he didn’t think it was a perfect movie, it’s clear that getting to that final big scene made the whole experience extremely worth it for the famed filmmaker. And perhaps that one-noted feel Quentin felt throughout the movie helped him get to the point where he got into the headspace of The Joker by the end of the movie. After all, this is what he claims made that climatic talk show scene so powerful and disturbing. The Joker made him think like ‘a lunatic’.