I want to have one, Helen. OK. Welcome to You're Wrong about the podcast that just wants to watch the world burn.
Oh, that's very good.
Now, that might make you think that we're doing something a little bit different from that quote today.
But now I'm just going straight to Michael Hobbs.
But there's no point in introducing myself. I'm some lady. I'm the woman, the woman, according to some reviewers. And today we are releasing a bonus episode of Sarah's delightful podcast.
Oh, thank you. My. With a delightful special guest. Yes.
With your delightful maintenance phase co-host, Aubrey Gordon. Yeah.
It's like a little family reunion. We did this episode on my other podcast.
Why are Dads a couple of weeks ago and we had Aubrey on as a guest and it was I don't know, I guess it was really special to me to, like, further knit our podcast family together. I think maybe it's because this has been such an intense year for loneliness, but I feel like I am still going on some of the gas and my tank from the Obree conversation. It was just so nice. We're going to jump in and you're going to hear me and Aubrey and Alex.
Steve, talk about the dark night in a minute and all of our misgivings with its logic and so on.
But I'm curious about do you remember when you first saw this movie and your response to it then and how your thoughts on it have changed, if at all, or maybe even at the time? Because when I first saw this movie, I was like dazzled by it, that I can imagine you being like, I don't know about that ending, you guys.
Yeah. I mean, I've said this to you before, and I think you disagree, but I think it has the same thing as a lot of Martin Scorsese movies.
Nobody ever talks about the final third. All of the cultural impact of it are in like the sort of the parts that make gangsters look cool. And then at the end where the gangsters, like, die and get arrested, we just edit those parts out. And it's the same thing here. We're like The Dark Knight has this great set up and all these great sequences. And then the final third is just a mess. And like nobody remembers it or talks about it.
Yeah, I would I would dispute that, only to say that I talk about the Final Four to Scorsese movies because I like them. But that probably has something to do with the fact that I'm a girl. And so I'm not invested in, like, you know, joining the mob, like being in the end maybe a good idea.
And that's where the good Sharon Stone stuff is to. Yes, exactly.
That's what Sharon Stone gets to act her whole ass off the sequence where Sharon Stone is on a boat and she can detonate the boat at any time.
And it doesn't make any sense.
I wish Sharon Stone was given that kind of power. And then Sharon Stone gets half of her face burned off.
But were you living in the U.S. when this movie came out or were you abroad? I was in Denmark. OK, what was that like?
I mean, I think I actually saw it in the US, though, because I think I came home for Christmas and I remember seeing it on an IMAX screen and I was sitting too close to the point where, like, I had to sort of turn my head like I was watching a tennis match to watch different parts of the screen.
So the whole time I was like whipping my head around to try to figure out what was going on. And then I finally saw it elsewhere, like under normal circumstances.
And I was like, oh, yeah, some of the visuals are still pretty muddled.
I still don't really know what's going on. It might not have been the big screen.
Yeah, no, I feel like some of it is because cuts like you're not supposed to know what you're seeing exactly, but the cuts are exciting.
I mean, we could do a whole episode on sort of the social construction of Christopher Nolan because all of his movies have been super duper critically acclaimed and like paradigm shifting when they come out and they age badly, extremely quickly.
Yeah, like McDonald's, everyone, like, lost their fucking minds when Inception came out.
And in, like two years later, people were like, yeah, it doesn't make any sense. It's all exposition.
And I almost feel like we clamor for experiences to like overhype something and then talk about how we overhyped it. Like Tiger King was like this. Yes. And this has to have something to do with theatrical release because it's such me. Inception was such an amazing theatrical experience. And I was like, I must see this movie as many times as I can in this exciting, expensive, immersive way. Yes, because once it's out on video, it'll just I don't know if it'll work.
And I have not even tried to watch it since it left theaters.
Honestly, I haven't seen it in eleven years.
I mean, this is one thing I love about this episode, too, is that you guys get into the ways in which The Dark Knight, like it's kind of storytelling. Mechanics just make no sense at all. Like there's no way that the Joker can be this good at planning every single thing for a guy who sort of fetishizes chaos, like he's got to be sitting there with a spreadsheet for hours to make any of this happen, he has to be one of the most organized people in the world.
Yes. And just has a love hate relationship with with himself about that, I guess.
But, yeah, it reminds me of the moment and one of the DC snipers episodes where they're trying to call in to the police, be like, hello, where the DEA is. And like, they don't have enough change for it. Like, I was like. Is there ever a moment where the Joker is like midway through his menacing plan, but he's out of saying he needs to use a payphone, he's standing outside like McCormick and Schmick's or whatever, panhandling to try and get changed to call the cops?
You know this because I am super capable of enjoying movies with bad guys who are never challenged by the world they're in. But like they I don't know. They're just not scary to me because that's not you know, everyone runs out of change. Everyone looks like an idiot sometimes, even if they're terrifying.
It's also interesting how many of these movies really are a product of their time in ways that we don't realize when we're watching them.
Yeah, or I feel like some people realize, but we're kind of ignored.
Like, you know, there were a couple of reviews that were like this movie is like I think Sasha Frere-Jones wrote a review that was just like on a blog or a website. And it was just like, this movie feels bad to watch.
And everyone was like, no, it doesn't.
And parts of it hold together. I mean, this is this is the thing with Inception, too, that if you just kind of like let a Christopher Nolan movie wash over you and don't ask questions, it can be a very enjoyable viewing experience.
I feel like Christopher Nolan is great at sound design, and I know that he's good at a lot of other stuff. But like, I guess I would ask you, like, what is the significance of this movie? Like, why does this movie matter? Why would now four people spend time out of their lives discussing a movie that it sounds like they want to make fun of, but still deem important for some reason? Like where is that coming from?
Because there's dad issues that resonate with two women from Portland who I co-host shows with many PhD dissertations will be written about our weird fascination with superheroes over the last two decades.
And what Dark Knight is doing is it's the peak of this this very 2000s thing of kind of taking superheroes seriously. The James Bond movies kind of did this to like what if what if this took place in the real world? What if we tried to really ground this in the world we live in?
What if both of the girls he has sex with die?
Yeah, and like as we've gotten so many more of them and as we thought more about sort of like the structural elements, all of the stuff that's been illustrated by the events of the past year, I feel like one of the things that is age really badly about all of these movies is like, wait, why is this guy beating up criminals?
Like, what does this have to do with anything? And like, isn't this guy a billionaire? Can he just, like, fund schools or like do something politically that would actually solve the problems in this city? It's such a conservative 1980s. Reagan asked, thinking to be like, well, the way to fix the city is to go out every single night and beat up random bank robbers and like purse snatchers and stuff like.
It's just an absolutely appalling way to think about the problems of urban life.
I think that's what's interesting about Batman really is like how we approach him over time and how sincerely a movie can approach, you know, his whole thing. Because in Burton Batman, which we also talked about in Wired, adds the second movie that Burton does, this is like, I don't really care anymore. Let's talk about workplace sexual harassment and Catwoman and Danny DeVito eating fish and waving his arms around.
And you're like, yes, that sounds like a good time. Yeah. And kind of Guantanamo era Batman. Like we were going through something in America. We're like even more than usual. We needed to believe we needed to see heroic figures beating up criminals and giving the Joker the third degree because he deserves that.
And then also, I mean, in The Dark Knight Rises, the end game of all this is that Batman ends up, you know, and what seems like a prison in an unnamed Middle Eastern country and has to escape through sheer gumption. Yeah, yeah. Individual can overcome anything. And this world and also for that reason, the individual is allowed to do anything and which is great, because no matter who you are or how vast a system of power you're enmeshed in, you can always still see yourself as an individual.
It's the easiest thing to see yourself as.
I mean, you might break your back, but all you have to do is some push ups on the floor and then you'll be fine.
Yeah, it's it's like the Empire Strikes Back. It's like how I was training, planning to go to workshops.
Do you have to do to carry your back being like seventy nine.
So enjoy this bonus episode. We will also be releasing another bonus episode later this week from Maintenance Phase, my other Obreht featuring family podcast.
Yeah, and we can't wait to see you next week with a more analytical hat on, but for now, let's turn our brains off and enjoy the dark night.
We're not the podcast you need. We're the podcast you deserve.
Hello, Sarah Marshall. So hello, dear listener, you are listening to your dad's and we are about to talk about the movie. What movie? Sarah in our voices. I mean, my Batman voice is the same as my demon voice, but we're going to talk about The Dark Knight, and I'm really excited about it.
I don't think there's a difference between the voice and demon voice.
That's a good point.
Yeah, I've been doing this voice for a baby I know who likes the sound and I do like your team and maybe I can cos I want the baby likes that.
So I realize that babies love everything. If you do some love like this is great. I love it.
No babies love talented impressions and they do not like bad impressions. They have very good taste and impression.
We are joined today by a lovely, lovely guest by Aubrey Gordon, who is the co-host of Maintenance Fees. Yeah, I'm really happy about that. Yeah, this is the absolute funnest. It was some of the various pieces configured in an interesting new way. Yeah, it was a really lovely kind of slumber party experience. And I feel like our giddiness at just getting to talk about this movie with each other is present in this episode. And I hope that you got some of the glow from that.
What are some things that the listener of this upcoming episode, what should they be looking for? OK, I think that if you like, love this movie a lot and of hearing people make fun of it, it's going to be hard for you. Then you should skip this one. If you don't mind hearing people make fun of it, then this is for you, because it's about, you know, just talking about like what is Batman's plan? Is he really going to get a girlfriend by making someone else be Batman?
Who is the daddy? Obviously. What kind of world view does this represent? This episode is very special to me because I think this is the most mean that I've been about a movie that we've talked about on the show. And it's hard for me to express how I both. Relentlessly need to mock and also I'm genuinely delighted by this movie, and I do hope that we capture it, that I feel like we did.
I think so, too. I'm actually interested in the fact that you're warning people a little bit because I listen to this this episode and was surprised based on our conversation, how warmly we all received this movie that we're still very critical of. Like we are critical of this movie, but we're critical of it from the perspective of people who still watch it and light up a bit while watching it. Oh, yeah, I kind of want to watch it tonight, and I've obviously seen it quite a few times and preparation for this episode.
But and I think that is why it was important to me anyway to kind of try and situate this and its political moment, because it was like when this movie came out, like this is one of those movies that just everybody liked and had something for everyone. And it felt like. It just was for you know, I'm sure the world in many ways, but definitely for the United States in that moment and now I feel like it matters to look back and be like.
We need to talk about who we were when we loved this and when this felt like it was making sense of the world that we were in, and now you look back and you're like, Batman has to be framed. Why?
Yeah, we were living in a world where this pitch probably made sense. And in retrospect, it's very hard to understand why. It's just weird.
Like I was watching the White House Correspondents Dinner from 2011, which is the one where, you know, Obama famously made a he went pretty easy in making some jokes on Trump. And that does appear to be one of the crucial moments in Trump's need to become president out of spite and racism. That's such a weird moment in time now to watch because like the jokes don't make sense anymore. And they're in reference to things that were like these really odious manufactured scandals.
But none of them are about. We have a congressperson who says things like Jewish space laser. It was like the Tea Party once, Obama's birth certificate. And it was like that was really bad. And just a blatant attempt to gin up a fake story about a president who people wanted to dislike or wanted to hate because he was black. And that was the beginning of where we are now. But it's it's like feeling it's like being those kids and cabin fever and feeling nostalgic for when just little bits of your body were falling off like, oh, we so cute then.
Yeah, that's like very much the very much the beginning of the time that we're in now. In the end of the time that the dark night happened, it.
Can we talk for a second about the Snyder cut, which is something that happened between us recording this episode and now doing this intro? This is something that I just vaguely know and I had to ask you to explain it to me the other day. And so I just want to talk about it a little. Apparently, when the Snyder cut came out, which everyone really wanted to happen and a lot of people did, and they were like, release the Snyder kind of Justice League because I think people thought there was a good movie in there and I haven't watched it.
So I don't know if it's true. But Outlook doubtful in my opinion. And people were delighted by the fact that in that cut, the Joker literally says, we live in a society which I learned is like a Joker meme. And I find it funny and kind of unfortunate that throughout this episode we're about to hear. I characteristically have several rants about like, you know, if you live in a society to a higher standard, the crazy guy or the society.
And I was like, wait, am I the joker?
All right, let's go talk with Aubrey. You right? What's the difference between you and me? I'm not wearing hockey. You think that your client, one of the wealthiest, most powerful men in the world, is secretly a vigilante who spends his nights beating criminals to a pulp with his bare hands? And your plan is to blackmail this person in this city. Just show you that people ready believe in God who comes with the knife. Why so serious?
Sticks the blade in my mouth. Let's put a smile on their face. You want to kill? I don't want to kill you. What would I do it? How are you? No, no, no, no. You you come to me. Okay, one more thing before we begin, why your dad just made possible with support from Nacke Factory, which is a commercial and creative content in video production company based in Portland, Maine, that does work through these here United States and elsewhere and also via Patreon.
Thank you so much to everyone who is able to support us via Patriot. And we have pretty frequent bonus episodes this week. We are going to have a bonus conversation with Aubrey. Aubrey was good enough to join us for some extra time. And we really appreciate and patriarchal McGuire dads if you are able to support it financially. We appreciate that so much. And if you're not able, we absolutely understand it. We are just glad that you're along for the Why are Dads journey.
All right. Let's go talk about the dark night. Hello, Sarah Marshall. She's drinking the fuel under the blanket. We know that it's happening. How are you doing? I am so great. I know that I'm super excited before every movie we talk about. But I just really feel like today we're going to kill the Batman and I'm going to be licking my lips the whole time. Who are we going to talk about this with? Sarah.
OK. I just realized this. We're going to talk about this with one of the Internet's own, Batman's Aubrey Gordon, formerly known as your fat friend.
It's like postmaster general. Hi, guys. Hello, Aubrey. Can you just tell us a couple of things about yourself? Sure. I am a writer. I'm a columnist. Just released my first book called What We Don't Talk About When we talk about that. And I co-host a podcast with Sarah Marshals', other co-host, Michael Hobs called Maintenance Phase, where we sort of debunk diet and wellness industry nonsense.
Mm hmm. It's the best. I love it so much.
We have had people be like, I don't want to I feel reluctant to listen to all these shows because I feel like I'm facilitating these people, cheating on each other. We all just have have a thing for each other and it's great. And we're going to have a thing about that man today. Yeah, Michael's on a business trip and we're all just hanging out. You know, he's busy and Alex and I are a couple of home wreckers. Don't worry about.
Yeah. Can we start this episode by you as concisely as possible? Explain what The Dark Knight is? What Dark Knight? I don't know. The Dark Knight is and and what the plot is.
I will explain it for three hours. Thank you. OK, yeah, I was watching it again right before we recorded and I was like, I don't know. I know I'm going to get asked to describe the plot of this. And I've watched it several times in the past couple of weeks and I honestly barely know and I don't care that much like I. I feel that this movie could be called Law and Order Batman. So, OK, the plot is that Batman is that Manning around?
He this is the only movie in the Nolan trilogy in which we see him just be Batman. This is our only chance to do that. And so he's successful enough that he now has imitators. And the opening scene, he is attacked by dogs, which is great. We really open, though, by watching this bank robbery between this crew of I think six, five or six guys, all of whom take each other out and then get taken out by the guy who reveals himself to be the Heath Ledger joker.
And it's fantastic. And he takes off his clown mask and he has clown face paint on underneath. And it's great. It's like when Renee Zellweger and that other lady took off their coats and down with love and then they both had the color of each other's coats on their dresses. You're like, yeah, and whenever Heath Ledger is there, you're having a great time. And then we go to Batman dealing with the new threat of the Joker, Batman surveilling Harvey Dent, who's Gotham's new district attorney, who everybody loves and who is dating Batman's long term love interest.
I don't think they were ever in a relationship. But this lady, Rachel, I think it's very rude of him to never talk about the weird disease or accident that she was in that led her to transform from Katie Holmes to Maggie Gyllenhaal. But that also has happened in this movie. Bagus did a lot of plastic surgery and they're like, you know, you look great, but you look completely different. And she's like, Bruce won't even notice.
What if you looked more the what if you looked like your character had substance and then we didn't have to write interesting dialogue for you because you're known for your roles playing well rounded characters and people will think that you're playing one now. So basically it's the movie is Batman. I was trying to put this together. Batman meets Harvey Dent. They seem to hate each other. There's a real frenemies vibe. And then Batman's like, I know Harvey John will take over.
My Batman duties, and then I will retire as Batman, and then I can take his girlfriend, and that's kind of his plan.
Yeah, that's actually kind of the plot Joker gets in the way.
Basically, there's some real Insull logic happening in Batman's brain. It doesn't matter where she wants to go. No, there's another man. He's in the way. When I remove the other man, the woman is much like I know it is a lot like Ocean's Eleven. I think we're like as an audience member, you're like, well, this woman is torn between two jerks and one of them I know better. And I'm on the side of the Jerk who's the main character in this movie.
So sure I like I find Harvey done very I can't imagine wanting to date him. Like, what do you think of pre transformation, Harvey?
Oh, God, no. That's a hard no. The vibe that I got from Harvey Dunne in his sort of like pre to face scenes in this was that he would be the kind of guy that you would get drinks with and he would talk about how, like nobody at his job knows what they're doing and what he does do. You don't I mean, like, that's not a vibe that I'm into.
He's the loudest and most consistent in self-assured person in a in a 200 level philosophy class. Yeah. He, like, constantly has some latitude to say Aaron Eckhart is very charismatic and other roles.
So I know that this is not just him being an uncharismatic person, but like lending his abilities to play someone unpleasant. But I don't know, I was watching him in the early scenes and I was like, yeah, I can see you going completely crazy and just going on a killing spree after suffering facial burns. And I also love how Harvey Dent in Gotham, where the ratio of super villains to citizens is quite high, is going around like my girlfriend died.
So I get to kill people. And it's like you're a district attorney like you of all people should understand that that's not convincing mitigation in a world where most people have lost a girlfriend to a super villain.
I bet obviously we talk about like masculinity and where it's broken and there's so many overlapping portraits of it.
It's almost like a taxonomy of like bad basketball. I mean, where you're like, oh, you could have the Commissioner Gordon kind of bad masculinity or you could have the Lucius Fox kind of like dysfunctional masculinity where you get off the bad man. Like there's like so many options for like how to be bad at being a dude.
Yeah, right. So Batman has a plan. He's a bad man with a bad plan. He's going to give his Batman duties to the district attorney, which doesn't make sense.
Who outwardly believes in fascism, by the way, and talks about it a lot. Yes, I know.
And then they have his girlfriend, Blake Harvey. Fascism is bad and he's like, whatever. And then they move on. So that man has a plan to steal the day his girlfriend by outsourcing his vigilante duties to more effective prosecution, which I really didn't know was an option for him. So that's his plan. And then there Emerg, a new super villain called the Joker. And there is a famous speech given by Michael Caine, who plays Alfred and who is talking about how a long time ago he was in Burma, which is probably why he doesn't call it Myanmar.
And presumably the Brits were attempting to use jewels to bribe local heads of local populations, something like that, like some kind of colonialists, something, something. But that's not the point. The point is that Alfred was helping to figure out who were these bandits that were stealing these jewels that were going to be used to pay off the locals so that the Brits could do whatever they were trying to do. And he says, you know, Batman, like, I really think you don't understand this criminal that you're reckoning with because some men can't be bullied or bribed or whatever.
Some men just want to watch the world burn. That was a bad impression, but I really wanted to try it.
And you're like, no, like maybe the bandit was stealing the jewels because he didn't want British colonialists invading his country and he did have a plan and you just didn't understand where he was coming from. And you just assume that he just wanted to watch the world burn, which is also interesting about the Joker, because he's like, I don't have a plan. I'm an agent of chaos, which people seem to believe, but like he's very good at planning.
He's extremely like he's on the level of Robert De Niro in heat. It's like ballet. Yeah. I mean, like it's like he's like doing Swan Lake, but as Heist's or as whatever, like it's really incredible. It's beautiful.
When this movie first came out, I was not enamored. And the way I am now of the part where he gets that school bus perfectly out with the other school buses, it's so. Beautiful as an adult, you're like, yeah, so basically the Joker claims to have no plan, but basically embarks on this crusade of terrorism. And he says for every day the Batman, which is what we all agree to call him, and Nolan's world for every day that Batman doesn't unveil himself, I will kill another Gotham.
And so he goes after the fake Batman and he kills a judge and he kills the police commissioner, which is how Gordon gets a promotion. Basically, this culminates in a night of events where Harvey Dent has taken the fall for being Batman. Maggie Gyllenhaal, shockingly, doesn't want to be with Bruce Wayne now that he's given up his Batman duties because she actually gets to decide who she wants to be with. And the Joker kidnaps both Harvey and Maggie, and Batman has to decide who he's going to save.
And so he decides to go save Maggie the Joker, apparently knowing that he was going to do this or just, you know, deciding to be a because he's mean. The Joker is mean. He has switched them. So in trying to save Maggie Gyllenhaal, he accidentally saves Harvey Dent and Maggie just gets blown up, which it was the only thing that ultimately was going to be able to happen for her, because she just I don't know. That movie did not they were like, we need a woman, but then what?
I don't know. And then there's this whole other set piece, which I find really boring, where the Joker has two boats and he has put a bomb and a button you press to detonate the bomb on each boats. And one has civilians and one has criminals who if the people on each boat press the button, they can detonate the other boat. And if they get to midnight without either but pressing a button, they're all going to die. And so his plan, I think, is to prove.
That people are evil and to psychologically destroy Batman, I hope that it's not lost on our dear listener right now, that the part that you find the most boring is the closest to a Çöpler. That's very true and there are some things I like about how that is executed, but I just if this movie knew it were a saw kind of movie, it would be a very different movie and I would have had a very different kind of a time.
That is what it's missing is a level of self-awareness, like taking joy in the thing that it is because. Yeah, and what happens is that in the end, Harvey Dent wakes up, half of his face is spectacularly burnt off. It really is fantastic looking. I remember just being delighted by how how all in they went like you can see a whole eyeball. It's great. And then he goes around killing people. And then the Joker kills Maggie Gyllenhaal and then the people on the boats, none of them press the button because people are good sometimes, which is my personal belief.
And then the Joker is just left hanging upside down off of the building for the SWAT team to collect, basically. And he just tells Batman, like, you complete me and I don't want to kill you. And we balance each other. And Batman's like, I don't carry fear intimacy by. And then there's like this final standoff where and I didn't realize this until this year where Harvey Dent dies, he gets pushed off a building and dies in a very shadowy and anticlimactic way, because I always thought for some reason that they just didn't explain where he ended up because they wanted to keep it open to like do Harvey down for the final movie.
That was what I assumed for some reason at the time. But he's dead. Batman and Commissioner Gordon are left, and Commissioner Gordon, played by Gary Oldman, who is just fine in this, is like, well, I'm going to give this final speech that really doesn't make sense about how we have to let Batman take the fall for all the murders Harvey Dunne committed, because it would demoralize them to know that the district attorney, who citizens of every major American city know what his name is and care about him, if they knew he went on a killing spree, it would demoralize the whole city forever.
And also all of his cases would be thrown out because that's how the law works. And we have to let Batman, who was a folk hero, take the fall for everything and be chased into the night because he can take it.
OK, that was beautiful. That was phenomenal. Thank you. That was hard to do. It also feels like foreshadowing of a bunch of the weird plot nonsense that would show up in later Christopher Nolan movies, most recently TENNET right. Where like people are going to see Tenent and they're like, what is it about? I don't know. And Inception is about Joseph Gordon Levitt and Tom Hardy running around and upsidedown hallways. And it's a lovely action movie that thinks it's about stuff.
And I'm like, I don't care about the stuff. I'm sure Interstellar similar sort of like what is, huh? When a dude who doesn't like to talk about feelings wants to make a movie about love, he's like, no, it's about space. Like, okay, okay. Yeah, that's what the ideology feels like. It comes from the collection of things you just described in the media that I know about in the movies, the movies of his that I've seen, which is all of them minus ten.
It feels like a person who is very much under the belief that they are saying a series of layered, interesting things in a highly entertaining way, and that is the origin of their ideology, not in ideology.
And they got rewarded for it again and again. And like his movies really are, I think they're all like that, the sort of joy and and being hard to follow. And like I know I'm just an American rube, but like, I think speed is the perfect action movie because it's three movies and one, there are real world stakes. And you basically always know why people are doing what they're doing. Like mostly during this movie, during the dark night.
I'm like, why are we doing this? I don't really know, but it's fun to watch.
So I've watched this movie a lot of times. I really enjoy this movie. This was the first time that I noticed how much sort of ridiculous, like Fast and the Furious level of cynicism. You're like, there's this point at which they're in a fight in a parking garage. It's within the first like twenty or thirty minutes. They're clearly on the like, I don't know, fifth or tenth floor of this parking structure. And the Batmobile just like drives in through the wall, like they're like, what?
And that scene is also amazing because the fake Batman is there and he's like, why are you different from me? And Batman's like, because I'm not wearing hockey bats. And then he drives the Batmobile away and you're like, I appreciate that. He knows that the only reason he's Batman is because he's rich. It also feels like it's a person who had a hundred and fifty percent of the great ideas that. Could possibly rest in a movie and have breathing room, and it's been commented on a thousand times about how the two of his plot just feels like it's literally just like forty five minutes that they attached at the end of another movie and didn't flesh it out totally.
But yeah, one of my favorite comic book movies is Logan. And I think the reason for that is someone was like, there's so many cool things that happen in superhero movies. What if we gave the themes some space to breathe and gave, you know, places for Disney? Because so there were maybe five cool things that happen every five minutes in this movie to the point where it's so disorienting. Yeah, yeah. It sounds great, though.
It sounds the sound is just because the sound is amazing. I was really appreciating it this time. Like, I think the music is great. Everyone always talks about that. I do give Hans Zimmer a hard time because I think repetitive growling is like easy to use to stress out if he were but like whatever. But like the sound design I think is really amazing in this.
Yeah, it's phenomenal. Everything sounds like clicking and clanking and crunching have the stuff that he uses. Right, like all of his little like gadgetry stuff. Yeah. They do a great job of making up like when the like however they did the sound on the transformation of the Batmobile. Yeah. Yeah. I want that sound. That's like my text tone, like it's just so great. It feels very embodied. I was thinking about the difference in place between the different Batman directors and how Tim Burton's thing is kind of I want to say like WPA Detroit, look where they have these huge, like statues of workers and just very gothic and kind of out of time, even though they're using 90's technology.
But I feel like like this Batman takes place. And when I can only describe as like the very clean Chicago. Yeah, I think that that's right. And like, without color, like without pretty graffiti or anything, it's just all beige and steel. Yeah. Clean Chicago where it's always nighttime. It's never a good day. I hope you don't like the sun there. Like we mean it literally. It's the dark night and it's starting to finish in case you didn't get the two layers of meaning happen.
So, OK, so we said at the beginning that there are just an amazing amount of layers of the things that we typically talk about in the show. But even more on the nose. I didn't realize how much the just literal dead theme was throughout this movie. Like Malverde is Batman's dad. Batman's the city's dead gaudens. Also the city's dead. We have dense trying to be the city's dad and it not really working out. There's a series of very Bush era conversations around what you have to do about liberty and personal freedom as a means of keeping people safe and what people's expectations are and like what the trades are.
What does this movie have to say about paternalistic responsibility?
You're totally right. Harvey Dent is like damaged dad, damaged wannabee dad who never quite makes it happen. Lucius Fox, who is Morgan Freeman's character, is sort of like company man principle, no frills dad, dad who's not mad at you, but he is disappointed, competent dad. And it's kind of the dad of the corporation, too.
It's like he's taking care of it. It's fine. Totally.
The Joker, I think, is like when an abused child grows up maladaptive. The thing that I walked away from that movie feeling like this time around was, oh, all of those are failed. None of those actually function. Even the one that provides the movies resolution doesn't feel especially functional. Right. Like it doesn't resolve all of these tensions around, as you were saying, like sort of Bush era anxieties around, like the Patriot Act and all that sort of stuff, like seems like it looms very large in this movie and no one really solves it.
It does feel sort of like like an oops, all dads should be just like everybody is a dad also because there are no women. There's one there's one lady. I hope you like that one lady. And then and there she goes. She's basically there exclusively to be a grief vehicle. Yeah. So that we can then see messy grief. Dead, right. She's a plot device more than like a person. Yeah. The only other place we see women is on Bruce's arm and there's always several at one time.
Oh, right. Prima ballerina. This is a weird scene where they're on the yacht with the ballerinas to get the alibi because like, first of all, I feel like ballerinas are supposed to avoid getting tan lines. Bruce seems uninterested in them, like maybe he was at some other point. But this man doesn't have sex. No, he does not. Yeah, that's the thing. Like his love interest is a woman who rejected him. Three years ago or something like that, yeah, and I do appreciate that, that Batman is like overtly wounded in that way and that we see that.
But then Alfred also doesn't want to put suntan lotion on the ballerinas and you're like, this is home movie, not want to put suntan lotion on a ballerina.
And can we talk about why the ballerinas are there? The ballerinas are there because Harvey was going to take his new girlfriend, who's Batman's love interest to the ballet and Batman's power move as Bruce Wayne was to invite the entire ballet on his yacht so they could hang out.
And then Harvey and girlfriend could not see the ballet because then maybe that'll stop them from having sex for for just that one night. This movie does end with a bit of a thesis. It ends just with a big hug around Bush era politics like this movie loves. All of the dads acknowledge that some shenanigans need to happen under the radar as a means of upholding liberty and freedom, which is the whole Bush thing.
And we hear of Batman who's who is inexplicably taking the fall because everyone's going to feel good about that, about Batman being a murderer, because everyone will feel let down that it's is nuts.
But Gordon, the dad explains to his son why Batman, the dad, had to do this for the city. And he says Batman is the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one they need right now because he can take it. He's not a hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector, a dark knight, which is a dad explaining why he's a martyr. I don't know if Christopher Nolan is a dad. Yeah, he is. OK, his thought about being a dad is like, you are a martyr.
People are going to shit on you. You have to break the rules in order to keep everything going. Like if there are enemies that the gate he says this in the movie, if there are enemies at the gates, you have to suspend democracy, even though it's pointed out that what happens after democracy is suspended is is suspended forever.
Well, the lady who said that got blown up. So who cares? Sounds like a loser. At the end of the movie, it says, yeah, well, you know, sometimes you just got to talk to a couple of people and kill about three hundred. Four hundred thousand.
I could talk for an hour about what does it mean when Commissioner Gordon says he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now? Like, what does that mean? I don't know what that means.
It's movie dialogue is what it is. Yeah, it's code for we need to wrap this puppy up.
Did Nolan write this or was it like him and his brother something? He co-wrote it. Yeah, that's something written by a man who felt misunderstood as an artist for a long time.
That's something that like a literal 90s indie film Guy wrote. He's like, I put this movie out and it's what people need, but not right now.
It's right. And it's like, no, it's what people need right now. It's also sort of Christopher Nolan's whole M.O., which is like, if you don't get it, that's on you. Yeah. I mean, like, if you don't like it, that's because you don't get it is sort of the vibe of all of these movies, right? Yes. Inception and Tenet and all of those sorts of like projects and Interstellar, all of it.
Right. Is sort of this like, hey man, I made this really complicated thing. That's about what's in my soul. Yeah. If you're not on board with that, then that just means you just like having ascended to this level yet to be sort of like the culture around it, whether or not that's his actual intention. So I think I'm especially confused in this movie by the phrase he's the hero Gotham deserves, because maybe this wasn't the intention.
But I feel as if this movie kind of hates Gothamites. Yes. Yeah. And if it doesn't hate them, it is just utterly indifferent to them. Like, I have no idea what these people are like. I was actually wondering. I was like, is there a Gotham accent or did a lot of people relocate from New York, especially if they're gangsters? Oh my God. It feels like it hates Gothamites, but it particularly feels like it hates Gotham government.
This is like such a deeply, deeply, deeply anti-government movie, right? Yes. Harvey Dent is like the one competent person and he's like, not great.
And then he becomes a murderer. But we don't talk about it because a murderer, the courts are overloaded. Cops are sort of hapless. Right? Like even on the boats. Right. Even when the boats are sort of trying to decide whether or not to blow each other up, they try to vote. And it doesn't really work like whether or not they should blow up the other boat. Right. Like, it's just like one failure after another of government.
And it feels like deeply, deeply libertarian to me.
Yeah. And it also makes sense that Batman would be so punished for believing that he could hand off his duties to the DEA, which makes no sense. Like, I just have to highlight how little sense this makes. That like it is not the district attorney's job to, like, beat people up in parking lots, but I think we're living in a I don't know, maybe in America, people do think that that's what their job is, metaphorically.
And then he's punished for that because the movies like you saw at an elected official could take care of crime. No, only throwing Eric Roberts off of a fire escape will work.
So here's the thing, though, I'm curious about there are definitely all of these like very American Bush era post September 11th kind of anxieties that are getting processed in this movie. Yeah, I think it's getting processed in this movie. And what I think is a really interesting way is what is the origin story of psychopathy. Right. Which is sort of like what we're talking about when we're talking about the Joker and what we're talking about when we're talking about a number of characters in this movie.
This shows up in a couple of different ways. Right? I think probably the biggest one is the explanations for the Joker scar, the sort of trademark scars that he has that sort of extend his mouth into this big creepy grin that he gives different answers to times. Right. And then the third time, Batman just like pushes him off a roof or whatever, what he does. But Batman's just like I don't care. I really appreciate that this movie does not actually give you answers to that.
And when it does, they are unsatisfying. Yeah, I think that the origin story of Harvey Dent is an unsatisfying origin story because that's us watching an origin story happen.
And you're just like, OK, well, I just appreciate that this movie deals with sort of the idea of this menacing character. And it's just like, yeah, we don't actually know where this guy comes from. We don't know his background. We just know these here and we got to figure out what to do. Yes. That feels like a more honest answer than we get from a lot of movies that sort of tangle with the same idea of sort of like where does quote unquote evil come from, where it is, quote unquote, psychopaths come from?
It feels more honest to me to be like we don't actually know. And that's the unsettling thing. Yeah. Yeah. So I appreciate that part, but I'm curious about how that bit about the scars, this sort of explanation of the scar has landed for you to even watching it after many times and knowing that the first time you hear the story, it's going to be contradicted by the next one.
They're still very powerful stories and I think they really work. It also reminds me of Henry portrait of a serial killer, another great Chicago film where we have, you know, our our Henry serial killer, who also tells multiple mutually exclusive accounts of, you know, just how did he kill his mama and why is he the way that he is? And I don't think we actually want to know why people do awful things, because the answer is often like, well, we didn't have any funding for seeing if children are being abused in the home or it wasn't a crime at the time.
I was actually reading about mommy dearest. And there is a story about like Christina Crawford trying to basically escape when, you know, Joan Crawford would try to strangle her and stuff. And a cop saying to her, like, well, you just got to stick it out into your teen, sweetie, because if you get in trouble again, the lock you up and your mom's allowed to strangle you if she wants. It's different when you're adult, but not now by if we want to talk about improving society and creating a bigger government in some ways to deal with those problems, we could.
But like, we love having a fake answer because, like, his girlfriend died, you know, I think Harvey's resilience was the problem.
Yes. That mommy dearest story feels reminiscent of the Jeffrey Dahmer escape story. Yeah. One of the folks that he picked up, two people. Two people, two people get away. Yeah. And the second guy who escaped the police were actually like this seems suspicious. But the first victim who escaped. Yeah. He found to two young black women or teenage girls who kind of encountered him and held down the police and the police took him back to Thomas house.
And we're like, well, it's really weird. This is a weird situation, but we don't know what gays are like. This is probably it. Yeah, totally. And basically, that was his explanation, right? Was he was like, oh, we're gay. And it's like a gay thing. And they were like, well, really. But this is what this is what gays do. They chase they're they're very young, looking, very drugged, seeming sexual partners into the street naked while wearing handcuffs.
It's a gay thing totally. And it's much easier to have a conversation that's just like, I don't know, he's crazy. Yeah, right. Then to go, OK, actually we had like some really precise and serious failures in law enforcement. And this is actually a problem of having street people in charge of gay people without really being comfortable enough to be around gay people. Yeah. And then that like one of the cops who who helped return one of his victims to him, who then, you know, obviously the obvious consequences of that then happened immediately.
That guy I think last summer there was a story that he was president of the police union or had been for a long time in Milwaukee. Yeah.
He got like a decorated retirement and he was a police officer in Kenosha right after the Kenosha protests. Well, in the words of Stevie Nicks, lightning strikes maybe once, maybe twice. And it all comes down to you. And ultimately, what that I think reveals is that like these questions of individual evil or individual. Will behavior or whatever are actually less important than like if we had a society that took care of people who had problems than like their problems would be less of a problem.
And also, I feel as if like in the same way that I love how the song movies kind of allow you, like, never attempt overtly to stop you from just coming up with the interpretation that John Kramer had no plan at any time. And it was just a man dying of a frontal lobe tumor, which notably impact your decision making skills. We're allowed to watch this trilogy and be like, so Batman set up shop in a city that was definitely struggling but was also, you know, doing OK, like hanging on.
And he basically in a few short years turned it into a police state. Right.
I have a hard time extracting these movies from Bush, anything.
And this came out in 2008. So this is like a valedictory look back at the past eight years.
I don't know when it was written in the context of Obama's ascent, but like Dentists', Obama in a lot of ways. So it's hard it's hard to extract those things. But like there are unmarrieds about what Aubrey just said, where it's like the origin story of the Joker changes. I don't think Christopher Nolan is smart enough to have been making these statements and I'm reverse putting them on. But like the origin story, for the reason to go into Iraq changed several times.
Right. Like the origin story for that evil changed it change four times in the course of three months in public. And people are just like, all right, I guess we're just doing this. So to create that monster like it has that overlap there, which is particularly interesting. And like I was probably like anyone who from the get go was like, this is a bad idea. I was always confused why that didn't rattle some more cages, but it didn't rattle more cages because of a thing that the Joker says in this movie.
Like a lot of the things that the Joker says in this movie, you can accidentally become a person who takes it too seriously and thinks that he's saying some good shit like people do about like then in the Marvel movies, he says some correct things. And one of the correct things, he says, is essentially like people will go along with anything as long as it's going to plan, even if the plan is horrible, the Joker sorry, that are making so many Marvel connections.
But also I've been really nerdy into Norse mythology, like the Joker's the Loki character in this, too, because like the Joker is not necessarily good or bad. He is just an agent of chaos who goes around and reflects to people what they are in one way or another. And he is maybe like an anarcho libertarian in this movie. But he's correct in saying, like, people will do anything as long as it seems like it's kind of part of the structure.
So like, let's go along. And he's kind of wrong, as we see portrayed in this movie. Let's go along and like, fuck up the structure a little bit and see how people act. And this is the thing we talked about in this episode is like, you know, as soon as we get into horror franchises where we're describing the person's back story, I'm oh, I'm just not interested anymore. It is I don't need to know more about Michael Meyers third cousin.
I don't need to know it. And so I like that. What this does is it is pointed out is like it gives you a couple of origin stories. It's like these might be true. They might not be true. It doesn't fucking matter. Isn't this guy wild? And I don't want to in any of the criticism I've offered, overlook the fact that, like, this Joker's so fun, he's so fun and he's funny like the Joker often because he dresses like a clown.
He's like, I don't have to be funny. And it's like, OK, whatever. But like, this guy is like the clown look is muted. So I'm just going to be a funny guy. Well, just the moment of him, like turning around in the hospital dressed as a candy striper. Exquisite. And the fact that they managed to do that without making it like a like super trans phobic, like man in a dress. Sure. It was like, yeah, good work.
Look at you. You did it. You avoided the landmines cheers team. Yeah. And he's like he's like Courtney did in a fun way. Like his like his outfit is great. Oh yeah.
I love the line. Like when they have him at the station we have a shot of like all the knives he somehow had in his pockets or gets on his person getting a line up. And they're like, it's very much like when John Doe gets taken in in seven, they like all his clothes or custom made and nothing in his pockets but knives and lint.
I will say, while we're talking about delightful bad acting, I mean, not like not like whatever. Acting like a bad guy, delightful bad behavior. Yeah. I will say that around the release of this movie is when we got that release of the recording of Christian Bale unloading on the sound or the director of photography. Oh yes, yes, yes, yes. Do you guys remember this moment. Yeah. Oh yeah. Yeah, I remember this happening and I remember not even listening to it because I was like, I know.
I believe I appreciate that he's doing bad stuff and he has anger issues and I don't support that. But also, like, I want to be able to keep. Emotionally relying on news, and this is going to make it harder for me, so I just kind of compartmentalize it, but I would love to hear about it now.
I feel like I'm strong enough fair as a person who just does not enjoy shouting out of anger always makes me feel real skittish. I don't enjoy it. It is hard to listen to, but also it is very funny to me. So like, it's not a coincidence. He's being awful. I just want to be incredibly clear about that. But the way that he's being awful is very funny to me. He is yelling in a way that would be immature for a grade schooler for you just goes, oh, good, good through to you.
Like like just like this, like dripping with sarcasm, weirdness. And he goes like, oh, look at you. You're just going on like, dude, you're like, what is happening? So it's very funny to me to think about this, like very well actor who's at the top of his field, a grown man, award winning and all of these ways. But definitely like to another adult man. Yes. Which this movie could have had more of, honestly.
Like I mean, I think one of Batman's problems is that he's never allowed to be funny. And like never in his life will he have an adventure where he has to where it gets to be funny. Although I would love to hear about when that happens or comes close to happening in comic book, what's the funniest thing?
He says he and Alfred are going up some elevator thing. And Alvord says like something like, I'm going to go to jail for being an accomplice and Wences accomplice. I'm going to tell them this was all your idea. And it's, yeah, oddly funny for how weirdly joyless this man is the entire time. This man whose entire existence is defined by being angry that his parents died when he was 10 years old and that his girlfriend from three years ago is now with another person.
I also wonder, you guys have done a couple more Batman movies than this, and it's been a minute since I've seen the ones that precede the Nolan trilogy. Is this the origin of the Batman voice, the look like that voice?
They had it in Batman Begins and I and Keaton is definitely doing some kind of a voice. But this is this is a hang up I have about the Nolan Batman. I'm incredibly hard on Christian Bale in this role, I think partly because he's probably ashamed of having been in Newsis. And I'm like Newsis was better than this. And you sounded less silly in it, I have to say, like I would rather he sang everything than do that Batman voice that he does because like, it never works for me.
It's never not distracting the whole time. I'm just like Bruce, like, are you going to are you going to got polyps or what. Yeah. Well in the next film they graduate to the baneful, which is even more bonkers. I do love the band voice. Yeah. And I love how it's just like a Sean Connery basically. But it's something else.
They really should have had a bit where someone hears that man talk for the first time into the laps. I don't imagine being a cop. And there's this man doing all this shit like this and you're like, what the fuck did you just say to me?
It's such a bonkers voice. And especially in lines like cause I'm not wearing hockey player like where you're like, what's that voice doesn't say hockey pants. You seem like a really cool guy who should be doing this. Like I also think like this movie does, really casting that really does a good job of making the script seem stronger than it is. Like I would watch Morgan Freeman grocery shop for about an hour and I would have a great time. And like I don't think that Alfred in this really.
I could not say what kind of a person he is, he's witty, he's funny, and he just is completely and utterly loyal to Bruce. And that's really all I know. I guess he seems like he has more of a character in this because Michael Caine is so lovely to watch and just feels just has a dimensional presence, I feel like. Yeah, I totally agree. There was like not quite enough Michael Caine for me there is not quite enough Morgan Freeman's character.
For me I was like, this is a really fascinating portrait of like a company man. Yes. Right. Is sort of the Morgan Freeman kind of vibe. He's definitely like the most competent person. Yes. In this movie. Do you not? I mean, just in terms of like getting things done and knowing how to do things and being a go to like it's very true that he is sort of like straight up knows how to run things and like just handles things.
That moment with the guy who wants to blackmail is a great movie, which is just being like, oh, sweetie, no, honey, yes, there should be a Lucias show because I feel as if he's sort of like the casino manager figure of it all, like he's the guy who has to go between and like got this technology. Like, it has to be harder than what we're seeing. Everyone who is in kind of a dad ish role in this movie, you know, taking out of the Bush context just about responsibility.
There is a lot of commentary about how there's stuff that has to happen above board and then there's stuff that has to happen below board, like starting with the bank that gets robbed is a bank. Yes, but it's also a mob bank. Everything has a layer of like what's happening above the surface of what's happening below the surface. What's the movie say about responsibility? It's like you have to do stuff above board and have character, but also you have to have like a secret R&D department in your corporation where you can privately develop weaponry, like what is it?
What does it have a statement accidentally? I mean, I think its statement is. But ultimately, you got to crack a few eggs if you want to make it right. Like that seems to be sort of the vibe of this movie is like, look, nobody likes surveillance, but we're going to do it if it gets our guy. Yes. It definitely feels like very steeped in that kind of like Guantanamo. Debate, interestingly, came out before the Snowden leaks.
Right, like several years before all of the NSA stuff, which feels really fascinating to me because that was under Obama that we found that out. Yeah, under under Harvey Harvey whole face. This idea that you were like covering your bases by sort of debating or seeming to debate the topic and then being like, but of course, we have to surveil everyone and it's fine because Morgan Freeman is doing it. And how do you feel better about surveilling?
You know, in the end, you know, that feels very early law and order to me where they kind of especially in like the early season episodes, which are the ones closest to my heart because they're clumsy and weird and they have some kind of transparent like the cops on the street will be debating this concept very openly. If, like if someone is abused, does that give them the right to kill their abuser? Maybe. And then in the end, they're like, no, it's not OK at all the end.
And you're like, well, I guess they entertain the idea. And it's like, did they entertain it or attempt to sort of trouble your conceptions significantly? Or was this sort of like a symbolic offering? It didn't strike me.
And I just don't know. Law and order is just unrealistically 90 percent a bunch of cops talking about the philosophical rationale for the things that they do like it's their conversation that they would be having at the office. I'm sure that's what they do. Yeah. The first Four Seasons of Law and Order ASV, you are just like Christopher Maloney being like, I'm a Catholic. Here's what I say. You're just like what it's like. What if we could combine Dragnet with The McLaughlin Group and then ice tea is just there to ask like exposition questions, but not really have opinions.
Mariska Hargitay gets to be like I'm a woman. As we're talking about this, I'm realizing the degree to which Jack McCoy, this character is Batman. Yeah. Like he is the Batman of that crew, which is just like, I don't care. I'm going to do what needs to be done. You're not going to always like it. But here we are. He's a bad lawyer, man. Like he's like the prosecutorial version of Perry Mason.
Like he does not have a strategy. I don't think he really plans stuff out. He just, you know, like twenty minutes before court, shot of scotch got in there, intimidate some people, you know, bark about morals point. And then, you know, eventually they take a deal, right? Yeah. Like just about any cop show or law enforcement show, including the center, which we were talking about earlier off. Mike, it is this like deep willingness to believe that actually people who are in law enforcement in any capacity are in it to find the.
Real answers and the real people who did the really bad things. It's like, well, hmm. And the system may be corrupt, but they are not. And like we put our faith in the individual. Batman's origin story is that he originally, you know, was a detective that has been, I think, what he is this entire time like that. Systems aren't the answer. And the lone man, the lone detective, the lone vigilante like the point is that he's doing it by himself.
And there's a line that I find so interesting when he's talking about giving his jobs to Harvey and Alfreds. Like, I think he says something about like what about the fake Batman's like. What about that? And Batman's like, you know, that's not what I meant when I said I wanted to inspire people. And I was like, well, if people are inspired to dress like you and beat up criminals like you and be vigilantes like you, like sitting's, you want to inspire them less like and I feel like he's really saying like, no, but I want to do it.
Would it cause players ever do to you, man. Yeah.
There's something especially dark about kind of superhero movie directors seeming to dislike fans. And it's like I don't know. What side do you think your budget is buttered on, sweetie?
Did either of you see The Walking Phoenix Joker?
I did not. And I'm curious about how it compares because, like, I yeah, I was just like, I, I don't care about the Joker as a character that much. And I love Heath Ledger as the Joker. But I don't know. I think and this is another kind of half life of this movie thing to you. I'm very creeped out by the fact that we had a shooting at the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises, where the gunman was inspired by some Joker iteration, was doing a joker kind of a thing.
And I think the feeling that a lot of people had anticipating the Joaquin Phoenix Joker movie was like it's going to inspire in cells and mass shootings and blah, blah, blah. And then people were like, no, it's not about that. I haven't seen it. So I don't know. But I'm just like, well, I do think it's reasonable just to fear, like not maybe the content of the movie so much as what happened at the last premiere of Nolan Batman, which really I remember like going to see because my boyfriend at the time was a comic book guy.
And so we we went to a lot of midnight premieres or releases of things. And so we went and then like walked home. And I remember I was like reading the news at three thirty in the morning and reading about Justino, this massacre in Colorado that had just happened to people exactly like us who just wanted to watch a movie exactly like us, just like Gothamites. Plebeians just wanted to see some cool stuff happen for three hours.
It feels like the two sort of biggest sort of rival Joker performances. There's also the Jared Leto one, but that one, but that one no one seems to want to defend. That's right. That's exactly right. So I was just curious about how you all felt about those two. I mean, like the thing that I think is both interesting and profoundly interesting about The Walking Phoenix Joker movie. So I went to see it like opening weekend at a theater in East County in Portland.
And there were two have lawyered up cops at the entrance to the theater. Like, so to your point about sort of this crime rate. So to your point about the mass shooting, that fear was alive and well enough in Portland, Oregon. Yeah. Which in a Portland, Oregon movie theater, which feels like maybe one of the sleepiest places to be. Yeah, they had deployed like again, not security, like cops, like cops were at the movie theater, which is just real wild.
I mean, the thing about the Joaquin Phoenix Joker movie that stayed with me was I was like, this is the origin story that we don't get in The Dark Knight. Just not getting that origin story is, I think, part of why I find this movie so satisfying. You don't get to know where this guy comes from. And also the Joaquin Phoenix one. It's like he's got a real frigid mother and people are mean to women. But wherever you're just like, OK, yeah, let's blame a series of women.
I felt like with that movie, like I would have a responsibility to feel a certain way and weigh in on the movie when I watch America's dialogue about it, which I think was, you know, important or whatever, but like sometimes you're like, is this actually important? Like, is this conversation that's happening about this, like, is anything happening as a result? It's like people are just like angry and yelling and freaking out and like, do I have to feel responsible with an opinion of a movie by the guy who made road trip about the Joker?
Like, I can't deal with it.
People don't kill people. Alex Todd Phillips Movies kill people. I was like, I can't have this.
I guess what's spooky about that initial crime, I would help me back from going to see the Joker, aside from the fact that it seemed kind of serious. And I really I'm somewhat allergic to serious superhero movies because we're talking about that today. Yeah. There's also this thing of just like it happened in Colorado, but it also happened in a movie theater. And there's something about being in a movie. Movie theater, where it's like you're not where you are, you're in a movie theater and like your senses are blocked out, and we're now in a moment where we're kind of realizing that, like, literally everything we used to do was like brave and slutty and amazing.
I grew up watching the celluloid closet over and over again because IFC was playing it a lot when I was in eighth grade. And Susan Sarandon has an amazing moment in that, where she's talking about like, well, movies, you know, they're this incredibly vulnerable experience because you go into a room and they turn the lights out and then, you know, you are watching something that transports you to, you know, your dreams and your fears. And just I can't believe it's something that we just used to do all the time and not even think about.
But it's like you're surrendering yourself to a collective dream with a group of strangers that you're agreeing to implicitly trust. And we had to have that conversation and people had to be like, I'm afraid to see a Todd Phillips movie. The problem is that we're living in a country without sufficient gun control that like people don't feel safe. Going to see a movie like this is the kind of thing I feel like I would grow up being taught about, like, you know, some other small country that we're supposed to pity.
Like that's how they live. And it's like, hey, it's us we're doing.
It must have looked from the other side nuts, like we were having a heated conversation about it. Tangelos maybe because we feel so powerless about doing it.
Surrounding Todd Phillips movies like the text of the movie and like doesn't support violence or does it not? And it's like in a just society, Todd Phillips could make whatever stupid movie he wants and we wouldn't have to worry about it. Inspiring criminals who then were able to just go out and get whatever tools they wanted without any pushback. People should be allowed to make weird art without people being able to do it themselves at home quite so easily like I was.
Another thing about this movie about The Dark Knight, out of the many movies we have discussed here is that like speaking of the sound design and it like the sound of guns in this movie is like there's a lot of gun sound and it's very effective, I feel like. And that's just I don't know if we would do that today. I don't think we should do that today in a movie that is for entertaining people.
It does feel like there are not many. Movies, particularly blockbusters and particularly blockbusters that remain, people really continue to like this movie, like this continues to be like a mainstay of USA network on a Sunday. And there were just not many movies that have this kind of like real world violence attached to them. And for it to continue to sort of make its way through without necessarily being hampered by that in people's minds is really wild to me. I'm curious about we're sort of talking about sort of broadly the feelings about this movie.
I'm curious about how you to feel about it. What's your relationship to this movie? I definitely like it. Like, I definitely if this were on TV, I would be like, I watch this, you know, and when I saw it and the theater, I was 19 or 20 and I was like, that was great. I loved it. It seemed to have themes. I like it when an action movie seems to have themes. I feel smart.
Great. And then coming back to it, you know, in the past few years, I've sort of just been delighted to return to the Nolan Batman movies and put them in conversation with the other Batman movies and be like these movies are like they think they have this perspective, which I think is really silly. Like I think if you break down the election philosophies of all of these, they don't make any sense. But also they perfectly document like the America in which I was a young adult and like that didn't make sense either.
Like, I just feel like they're these in a way that nothing else has been, because there were so many movies like, you know, like Syriana we talked about on this show recently or like movies about the Iraq war that, like, people just don't remember anymore. This one. I do think you just sort of distils that time and what we believed or felt we had to believe.
So I remember seeing in the theater and being, like, stoked about a lot of things in it, like just seeing the first clown mask in the movie. Yeah, I think it treated I mean, obviously like Heath Ledger treated the Joker so beautifully in this movie, but I think the movie is the best tribute to the Joker in film for him for sure. I haven't seen the Joker movie that you just talked about, but like it honors the spirit in a really interesting way while speaking to a lot of stuff that was happening in that particular moment.
And it is a lot of fun, like outside of the convoluted elements to it. I think it's like a lot of fun for such a downer movie. Like there's so many things I do like about this movie, and I love what is beautifully parodied in Lego. Batman, which we're going to do at some point in the show, is showing the co-dependent relationship between the Joker and Batman. Yes, that happens so quickly. That illustrates two fucked up men who just need each other in order to have any reason or rationale like it's beautiful.
And I remember being in the theater thinking this this is so fun to the point where I was so fucking disappointed when we had to spend another forty five minutes on a sequel that they tried to cram into Aubrey. And you said you watch this movie a lot, what is your take on it? So I have a real penchant for action movies, regardless of their quality. Yeah, the best action movie is a six point one on IMDB and that's the sweet spot, the greatest.
So I will say I went through a long phase in my 20s in particular of going to see every new Liam Neeson movie that came out, every new Nick Cage movie that came out just like just like one year for about 10 years there, right? Oh, yeah. So this has, like all of the payoff. I would say that this has all of the payoff of like that I'm looking for in an action movie, which is like Jesus and punching and one liners and Morgan Freeman for some reason.
I mean, I'm just like, it's all there. I'm getting everything I need out of this. It scratches similar itches for me is like a Bond movie, which is just like, oh, you just made this thing that has a bunch of sort of like Dudly kind of Christopher Nolan. He like it's really complicated kind of stuff. Do it, but also hits all the high notes of like all of the pages of the beating up of the crime fighting of the Bible.
All of those sorts of things are there. I will also say this was a movie like I am a person who is off and on at different points in my life, profoundly anxious or profoundly depressed and constantly trying to convince people around me that the world is darker than they think it is. So this is a movie where I was like, guys, I was right all along.
Aubrey, do you know the question we typically ask at the end of the show? And if you do, would you ask it of the group? Yes. Who's the daddy? Everybody who's the daddy of the Dark Knight. I mean, again, I feel like this is like, oops, all that. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Let's let's look at our candidates here.
OK, so we have Commissioner Gordon about whom very little can be said by me. We have Batman himself. We have Alfred, we have Lucius Fox. We have a lot of. Also, random sight guys we have Eric Roberts is a gangster, which I always appreciate, we have Anthony Michael Hall as the news. We have the mayor, who's just a random hottie, whose name I forget. Oh, Néstor Carbonyl born wearing eyeliner.
And then we have the Joker, you know, OK, for me personally, the Joker is the daddy, because something I feel like we all need to talk about more as a society is that the Joker literally says to Batman, you complete me. That's beautiful. Like he knows what his deal is. Nobody else knows what their deal is. I also love when, you know, he proposes to kill the Batman and the various gangsters who he has assembled is like, why didn't you do it already?
Why? That's about it. He's like, if you're good at something, never do it for free.
Yeah, totally. That is a fantastic lesson. Oh, yeah. And guess and the Joker is like, I don't care what his back story is, he doesn't need a back story because he has a coherent presence. Now he's he wants to kill the Batman and he got some scars somehow and he feels it necessary to wear a lot of makeup. And they're like war paint. And it's like, no, I think we can just call it makeup.
Makeup is fine. And it's really like this is a story about Batman having a chance at intimacy and pushing in a way, Batman wants Maggie Gyllenhaal to come, you know, live with Bruce Wayne and be his love and who even knows what their relationship would involve, because it's not like either of them have hobbies, but really like he isn't Bruce Wayne, he's Batman. And the Joker wants Batman and he wants them to just torment each other until the end of time.
And they should have done that. Aubrey, what's your take so like on the movie's terms? Right. Like if I'm thinking about sort of the movie itself, I think this movie doesn't exist without the Joker. Like, it just doesn't if it's Batman versus this sort of like crime syndicate, who cares? Who cares? Truly, who cares? I think in my heart of hearts, I kind of feel like it's Lucius Fox. I'm fascinated by that character.
And I need like I think Sarah, you mentioned earlier, like they should have Lucius Fox spinoff movie. Like, yeah, I would watch the shit out of a Lucius Fox spinoff movie. Yeah. Yeah.
I agree with Aubrey's take. I mean, I agree with your saying are about my daddy would be Lucias for all these reasons. I just want to know how he was approached initially. Like I want to know that conversation was like did he show promise? And he was promoted in this arena, like did he have a special relationship with Bruce's dad? Like, I don't really want to know. I'm glad that I don't know. But if I had to learn more about anybody, I'd want to know about this guy in particular.
He's the only person also who has any charisma.
Alfreds charming, he's charming, but like is just Elfriede. He's toning it down. Yeah. My impression of Alfred is the impression of Alfred from the trip. Over time, it's just become a caricature of itself. So I'll take I'll take Luciana's. I agree.
So to maybe connect this, I feel like superhero movies like are often an excuse for like men to have relationships with each other, which is also why I love heist movies like you get to watch people do team work, which is amazing. And also I think war like these movies where typically men there's a large group of them, they have to do something together and have a shared goal. And it's often like, you know, war or killing or can we take a leaf from, like the British comedy playbook and just have like a movie about Bruce Wayne and Alfred, like on a long road trip together?
Like, what if they had to go to Arizona? They got that plane.
So I would love that so much. Can you just tell us how you would like people to find you when when they're done listening?
Sure. You can find me at on Twitter and Instagram at your fat friends. That's why our fat friend, you can find me at your fat friend Dotcom while you are fat friend. Just to make it confusing, you can read my book, what we don't talk about when we talk about fat, which is out now. And you can listen to maintenance phase if you want to hear about Dr. Oz being a real story of some squandered talent, a real wicked witch, if you will, of the West.
Yeah, that's right. Well, when he actually came and when the Wicked Witch of the East got crushed under that house, he came and he gave her some green coffee extract and she perked right up.
So. That's it for this episode of Wired Dads, thank you so much to you, Aubrey Gordin, of course, of maintenance fees and the author of What We Don't Talk About when we talk about that. It was truly, truly a delight to talk with Avery. We had the very, very best time. Thank you so much for listening. Thank you to Caroline Kendrick, who produces the show that makes the show sound great and produces music for the show is also our music director.
You can hear Carolyn's EP Tear Things Apart by looking up Caroline Kendrick. She's at Caroline Kendrick dot com and on Twitter and Instagram and the places that people who make music typically are. We are on Twitter and Instagram as well. Also Patriot. In the coming weeks, we have Clueless. We have the Lord of the Rings movies. We have The Shining. What else is coming up here? We have Muriel's Wedding. So you're in for some treats and we look forward to sharing them with you soon.
All right. That's it for now. Thank you.