We reviewed Jokeron the last Podcass, but the movie set an October box office in finishing No. 1 at the box office over the weekend. And there are soooo many reactions and think-pieces to it that we felt the need to talk some more about it.
After the Joker talk (01:10), we have some baseball talk from WISE Sports Radio (11:42), including the Chicago Cubs’ managerial search. Then the show wraps up with with thoughts on what’s happened to Sports Illustrated (25:20).
Joker is the big movie release of the weekend and drawing a lot of buzz, so we have a review for you (2:11). Then baseball and football radio segments from WISE Sports Radio. Up first is a preview of the 2019 MLB postseason (15:05), followed by a look at Week 5 in the NFL (27:33).
Referenced during this episode:
“[…] all the fucking funny guys are like, ‘Fuck this shit, because I don’t want to offend you.’” [Joker director Todd Phillips in Vanity Fair]
For the past 20 years, figuring out what makes villains evil has become an entire creative industry. I don’t know if it started with the Star Wars prequels, but that seems to be where it was popularized. How did Anakin Skywalker become Darth Vader? OK, that question was inherent with the character because we knew that he was Luke Skywalker’s father and a Jedi Knight alongside Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Yet was that story really begging to be told? I think we all — whether “we” means Star Wars fans or general pop culture — thought we wanted to see that story. But would it have been better if Darth Vader stayed ruthless and villainous? Isn’t it enough that we knew he had a change of heart by the end and chose to save his son over his devotion to the Empire and the Sith?
The mystery of what made Anakin turn into Vader added appeal to the entire Star Wars mythology because it invited people to imagine what might have happened, rather than having that story told to them.
With one magic word, Shazam! keeps the fun train rolling for the DC cinematic universe. DC was already on the right track with the success of Wonder Woman and Aquaman, but taking a chance with a B-list (maybe even C-list) character who had a chance to reach a younger audience might have derailed that momentum.
Some fans and critics might feel like DC’s big-screen product won’t be fully established until the big names like Batman and Superman have been restored, and the cinematic universe is on a path to getting the band together in another Justice League film. But Marvel seized the superhero movie pedestal with lesser characters and by creating a slow build that stoked anticipation for a big payoff.
Another reason that Marvel has succeeded while so many other studios and franchises have failed in trying to build a cinematic universe is its realization that many different types of stories and genres could be featured within a superhero universe. Movies like Guardians of the Galaxy and Ant-Man resonated with audiences because they were comedies as much as blockbuster spectacles. Humor has always been the honeypot for these movies.
I’ve been following a lot more people on Twitter recently, largely to try and get more views in my timeline. That’s increased the noise on my TweetDeck, but I felt like I wasn’t seeing as much stuff as I wanted to while trying to keep my follower count lean.
No, I haven’t been adding more conservative political views or anything like that. Most of the follows have been culture writers, especially people who either work in the comic book industry or cover it, to try and learn as much as I can for The Amusement Park Podcast or my own writing.
Along the way, I’ve noticed a few writers linking to their Muck Rack page, a database for journalists and public relations professionals. (I think it was Meg Downey, writing for DC Universe, who first got my attention.)
This reminded me that I created a Muck Rack page for myself a couple years ago. I had actually forgotten! I’m even a verified journalist there! My avatar was a photo of baseball player Munenori Kawasaki wearing a Cubs cap, which means I posted it in 2016. So I figured it was time to wipe off the cobwebs and update that thing.
With the early launch of the DC Universe streaming service — full of movies, TV shows, animated films and series, and comic books — Chris and I decided to record a special edition of the show and share our thoughts after playing with the app for a few hours (and a couple days earlier than the announced launch).