Joker: Love it? You might like these films

Joker has gone on to be one of the big success stories of 2019. It’s encouraging when a film like Joker comes along. Why, because it’s proof that audiences don’t care about spectacle but what they do care about is the character.

If you liked Joker, even if you didn’t there’s a chance you might like these films.

You might have heard of them before, and you might think that is nothing new. Even still please consider giving these films a watch, or if you’ve seen them before, a rewatch.

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Love Joker? You’ll like these.

Taxi Driver

This might be the most obvious one on the list. Martin Scorcese’s character study about a returned Vietnam veteran. Robert DeNero’s Travis Bickle wants to save a young prostitute from vice. This film isn’t wholly original either. The plot is a riff off John Ford western The Searchers.

It’s a snapshot of life in the Big Apple when it was rough and in need of clean up. New York of the 1970s here serves as inspiration for Joker’s Gotham City. Keep an eye out for the similarities between how films use colour. Taxi Driver is about a man fed up, isolated, wanting to have a purpose in his life. Bickle from the beginning of the film feels divorced from reality. Taking a date to see a porno on their first date. I can’t decide if that’s the most stupid idea or the most brilliant.

The film is also famous for its jazz-infused score. Score by legendary composer Bernard Hermann. This was his last score as the night following the completion of the score he keeled over and died.

You can access the movie here.

King of Comedy

Another Scorcese film. Scorcese is more associated with 1970’s cinema. He had a hot streak during the 1980’s beginning the decade with Raging Bull. Going on to do this and then onto the influential After Hours (Will write about it at another time).

King of Comedy is one of Scorcese’s and DeNero’s underrated masterpieces. The best way to describe this is cringe. It predates a lot of what’s considered cringe comedy like The Office. DeNero is Rupert Pupkin. A man with one dream, to become famous at any cost.

Pupkin is a more recognisable threat than Bickle. Pupkin feels like someone you’ve more likely encountered before. Rupert Pupkin is one of those guys who doesn’t do anything wrong. For some reason, you don’t want to associate with for too long. This follows him to his logical conclusion as he gets more desperate to be noticed and get famous.

You can access the movie here, it’s also available on Amazon Prime.

Interlude

Before I go on, I want to point out Joker, Taxi Driver and King of Comedy form a trilogy of infamy. Three films about characters who want to be acknowledged. When they don’t get it, they act out in violent ways.

The next couple of films on the list are more tenuous, but I believe they are worth your time. You should consider checking them out.

Fight Club

I don’t know if this one counts in the same way as the others. Based on the book, this film is iconic and assume that the majority of people have seen this. Endlessly quotable, “You do not talk about fight club”. Fight Club bombed when it first released, and I’m not talking about the banks.

There’s the twist that is as spoiled as Janet Leigh in the shower or Darth Vader being Luke’s father. In case you have not seen it, I will not spoil it.

Stylistically Fight Club may not be as much of an influence on Joker, but there’s thematic overlap. We have a disenfranchised, useless man who goes on to inspire a revolution.

It’s stylish, brutal, bloody and playful. Fincher, along with Paul Thomas Anderson, has cornered the market of how males are stupid. Especially when it comes to our relationship with women and society at large. Fight Club is an excellent example of this kind of film.

You can access the movie here.

Falling Down

Joel Schumacher put nipples on the Bat-suit. He sunk the franchise until Nolan brought it back to life. Before the high camp of his Batman films, he made this early 90’s masterpiece.

Michael Douglas is a man who snaps one day while waiting in traffic. He goes on a rampage throughout LA culminating in the iconic “I’m the bad guy?”. On his Californian odyssey, he encounters unhelpful store clerks, bureaucratic fast-food managers. There are also gang bangers, neo-nazis and, worst of all, golfers.

It’s a fantastic film with Robert Duvall as the cop tracking him down.

The film is much more subtle than it gets credit. Consider scenes like “Not economically viable”. Even the title which takes its name from the song “London Bridge is falling down”. The song takes on a dual meaning. With Douglas, it’s a song he sings to his child whereas Duvall uses the song to soothe his henpecking wife.

On the surface, the film feels like a glorification of violence. Taking our revenge on the society that screwed us. Peel back the layers. You’ll discover a thoughtful exploration of what happens when the cogs in the machine crack.

You can access the movie here.

The Wrestler

OK, I’ll admit, this one is probably the loosest in here. Let me tell you something, it’s a favourite film of mine, and I won’t miss any opportunity to give it a shout out.

What makes this film similar to Joker? OK, well it concerns a guy who wants nothing more than to entertain the masses. In Joker it’s through telling jokes. In The Wrestler, it’s through putting his body under gruelling punishment. The Wrestler, like Joker, also deals with a flawed guy. An imperfect person trying to do right. The only problem is that things beyond his control are stopping him. When he has everything was taken away from him, he decides his own life is no longer worth living.

The Wrestler is my idea of a perfect script. It’s a question that is explored and followed through to its logical conclusion. Speaking of conclusions.

You can access the movie here, it’s also available through Amazon Prime.

Conclusion

There you have it. Some films here will not be news to you. Some of them will have you going “Huh”. I do hope that at some point you consider giving the films listed a watch. They’re all proof that if anything a great movie reminds you of other films.

Enjoy and thanks for reading.

Here’s a link to my blog on storytelling you might find useful, click here.

Kieran

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