Michigan has a big game versus Penn State on Saturday night at State College. Prime time on ABC! White Out at Beaver Stadium!
My former colleague Kevin McGuire now hosts the Penn State podcast for the Locked On network, Locked On Nittany Lions. Happy to see him get that gig; he’s a big Penn State fan and a passionate writer on college football. I’m grateful that he invited me on to talk about Michigan and Jim Harbaugh. And since we’re both pop culture geeks, we had to go a bit off-topic as well.
But I also wrote up a review of the film for Asheville’s Mountain Xpress this week. And given the space restraints of print, it’s often a challenge (one I enjoy) to shorten and distill my thoughts.
“[…] the Joker is very much a comic book character. Though Phillips wants to deny that fact, clothing Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck in 1980s grime and despair and the visual language of early Martin Scorsese films, he can’t avoid the fact that the Joker is best known as Batman’s archnemesis. Allusions are even made to the future existence of the Caped Crusader. Can one exist without the other?
Perhaps the tie-in is fan service intended to placate die-hard comic book fans. But it’s also a concession that this story wouldn’t be distinct without a familiar villain who paints his face with clown makeup and favors purple suits with yellow accessories. Phillips tries to have it both ways.”
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.