Joker just made history as the comic book movie with the most Oscar nominations, but that doesn’t mean it’s safe from the Honest Trailer treatment.
Popular YouTube channel Screen Junkies uploaded a satirical look at the Joaquin Phoenix movie, which tears apart the suggestions that it’s too toxic a movie to see. The film picked up 11 nominations for the 2020 Oscars, with Phoenix leading the Best Actor race.
The video starts out by introducing the movie as “a period piece about psychological and social decay with the bare minimum of Batman it took to get the movie made,” showing the famous scene in which young Bruce Wayne’s parents are killed.
Then the narrator takes a shot at critics who called the movie’s violence “dangerous.”
“Prepare for a film the media said was too dangerous for you to see, which made audiences way more excited than regular marketing ever could have,” he narrates. “Cruising its way to a billion dollars on a $55 million budget because it got hyped like a cinematic fear toxin that would turn you into the Joker, even though it ended up being a mumble-core [Martin] Scorsese riff about the world’s saddest clown.”
The trailer also pokes fun at Phoenix’s laugh throughout the movie, which varies from normal to manic to crying-laughing. The actor actually based the trait on a real mental illness.
Phoenix plays Arthur Fleck, a man struggling with a variety of mental illnesses that keeps him from finding acceptance in a city that is slowly slipping into chaos itself.
One of these illnesses causes Fleck to uncontrollably laugh at inappropriate times, leading him to carry an informational card that explains the condition to people who may be near him during an episode.
While the movie never names what specific illnesses Fleck has been diagnosed with, these fits of controllable laughter are based on an actual disorder called the Pseudobulbar Affect, or PBA.
The condition causes bursts of uncontrollable laughing or crying and usually manifests in people who have ALS, MS, neurological conditions or traumatic brain injuries, according to Mayo Clinic.
These episodes can go on for minutes at a time, the organization says, and can cause embarrassment, social isolation, distress and depression.
“I thought of him having these reactions that one would consider inappropriate,” Phoenix told Indiewire. “I thought of the movie as a commentary on humor in our PC culture. Somebody who was out of touch with the world, laughing at school at something horrible that has happened. How to explain that to the principal?”