Saturday, August 26, 2006

the casting of Heath Ledger as the Joker in the next Batman film, entitled the Dark Knight, has had me thinking of the Joker as a character. he, much like his arch-enemy, has gone through many transformations over the decades. he started out as a stone-cold killer in his early appearences, then became a gimmicky one-trick sight gag, than became a cackling grotesque whose jokes were only funny to him, and they often invovled the murder and trauma of others.

everyone has their idea of who should play the Joker. i'm not here to do fantasy casting. too many people do that and it doesn't interest me anymore. get over it, Crispin Glover ain't happening (though it would've been nice i'm sure). no i'm here to chart my top 5 "Joker" performances. that is to say, characters in films that are highly evocative of the character. (spoilers abound, nerds).


Edward Norton, Primal Fear, 1996

as Aaron Stampler, Norton appears as a naive boy next door at the mercy of circumstance, convicted of a crime he didn't commit. he remains silent while his lawyer Martin Vail (played by Richard Gere), does everything in his power to win the case. while it appears that Vail is in control, something more sinister is revealed, where Aaron reveals himself to be quite the mannipulator himself.

how is this performance "Joker" esque? well the Joker has been known to be a compulsive liar, changing his story and background to invoke the sympathy of others, often times for his own gain (or even more monstrously, his own ammusement). Norton's performance follows a similar ideal, right to the grinning finale.


Brad Dourif, Child's Play, 1988

a serial killer thought dead returns in a somewhat playful looking body, but with his evil not only intact, but magnified to a demonic level. sound familar? not only that, but Chucky's maddening cackle (courtesy of the always outstanding Brad Dourif) sounds more Killing Joke than anything in cinema.


Kurtwood Smith, Robocop, 1987

the coked-up amoral non-chalance of main villian Clarence Bodicker is perhaps the best incarnate of eighties excess and greed this side of Gordon Gecko. he violently murders on a whim, laughing, cursing, and lobbing blood (sometimes his own) into the face of the law and human decency. if that doesn't scream "Joker" than i don't know what does.


Paul Bettany/Malcom McDowell, Gangster No.1, 2000

this underrated British pulp masterpiece had to impress someone that works on the Batman films, since Paul Bettany was apparently a hair away from snagging the part of the Joker. and why not? as the "Young Gangster" he's deadly, nihilistic, arrogant, and forever in a state of contempt and/or amusement of the good and bad things happening around him. Malcom McDowell plays the character at the age of 55, and while abit more worn and white haired, he's still every bit the glowering bastard. it's like watching where the Joker starts and where he ends up...always smiling.


Tadanobu Asano, Ichi the Killer, 2001

Kakihara. the only thing missing is green hair and white face paint. as the sadistic/masochistic Yakuza hitman, Kakihara (played brillantly by Tadanobu Asano) is every bit the colorful violent eccentric the Joker is, complete with purple trenchcoat and carved-in smile. he tortures others for information and his own amusement, even mutilates himself just to see the look on other people's faces. if "race" wasn't such a big issue, i would've thrown Asano's name into the big purple hat to play the Joker, since he pretty much does it here.

well that was fun.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006

Worry? Why would I let myself worry?
Why indeed.
Doesn’t seem like there’s much to worry about. Or look forward to. Or be interested in. The kind of terminal joy that you call boredom I guess.
What have I got to be upset about?
What have I got to worry about?
What have I got to look forward to?
What do I have?
It’s all the Big Nothing. In the name of the Big Nothing. Spit and mug, manipulate maws, test-drive ganglia by the fist. this is dumb. this is lame. this is stupid. this is nothing.
i just feel like complete shit today for no reason that i can think of. like a piece of shit. post hardcore blues? saw Starkweather last night...a show i've been looking forward to for a month...they were excellent, but i'm pissed that i could'nt properly absorb their brilliance because of the CBGBs Matinee Mongloids who mosh to parts that aren't there...not because they love the music, but because they want to "demuhnstrayt muh styl" and suck up all the attention from the crowd, so instead of the crowd coming away saying "wow, when Starkweather went into "Shroud" they totally fucking destroyed" the crowd comes away saying "wow did you see that Bad Brains vs. Predator mother fucker doing karate kicks while three 290 lbs bags of ass threw themselves around like they were cruiserweights, crashing into people who were actually there to see and hear the music?".

Rest in Piece CBGBs...please please PLEASE take NYHC with you.