Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

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mfunk9786
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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#51 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:18 pm

You know it's a very bad sign when a festival screening of a film opens with a two minute recorded intro by the director during which he takes great pains to reassure everyone that what they're about to see is supposed to be like Chaplin and that it's "very anti-hate".

Anyway, I think this might be my least favorite movie... I dunno, ever? More to come when I have time.

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swo17
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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#52 Post by swo17 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:44 pm

Out of curiosity, where do you stand on Waititi's other films?

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Brian C
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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#53 Post by Brian C » Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:53 pm

I hear ya, I’m always disappointed when movies are anti-hate, too.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#54 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:04 pm

Brian, I just hope you're joking - the film's positive message isn't my issue at all, it's the flop sweat involved in making sure an audience of adults are aware of its existence - but anyway, that was just the pre-show intro, so

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#55 Post by Brian C » Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:07 pm

Yes, of course I’m joking. I was just amused by how you worded it.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#56 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:55 pm

Just making sure I didn't word it that terribly, I'm always the last to know
swo17 wrote:
Sat Oct 19, 2019 10:44 pm
Out of curiosity, where do you stand on Waititi's other films?
Haven't seen any of his other work aside from Flight of the Conchords, which I mostly love

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domino harvey
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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#57 Post by domino harvey » Sat Oct 19, 2019 11:59 pm

Fox Searchlight will be in touch with talking points

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#58 Post by Jack Kubrick » Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:22 am

Green Book 2.0 here we come.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#59 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 12:44 am

This movie is coming back to me mostly in fragments: moments when I got aggravated with choices either on a script, direction, or acting level - but my biggest complaint is that I did not smile during this comedy. That should probably be a bare minimum requirement, and maybe the ol' funny bone just needed a little dusting off. Probably on me. Mileage will vary.

Anyway, beyond that...

There is the fact that the film opens and closes with the two most obvious German language pop songs recorded by their original English artists known to man (if you're reading this, you probably know what these are). There's a baffling Scarlett Johansson performance, which is borderline offensive (I am not German, but I am a human being and I feel misrepresented) just in its bizarre, out to lunch quality. She almost seems drugged - I'm finding it very difficult to describe here, but if I weren't mistaken, I'd interpret it as a person who is not by any measure a comedic actress thinking she's delivering a comedic turn? And coming off as a drunken space alien as a result? It is the stuff of Razzies. Anyway, back to the film itself... There are a spate of surreally inappropriate one-liners - sometimes so much so, in fact, that one wonders what makes them jokes at all. At one point, a melancholy Jewish stowaway looks at herself in the mirror and says "I am a dirty Jew." solemnly before we cut to her taking a shower. My theater chuckled at this, but... perhaps I'm missing something? Surely I'm not offended at the mere utterance, but more the lack of a reason for it other than to cram in a comfortable, kid gloved subversion of every possible slur? The mind still boggles as to why so many jokes in this film rely upon not just characters reciting outsized stereotypes devised just as jokes for the film, but also ones that actually existed and still exist in pockets, but must be included somewhere, to make sure that we spray some anti-hate on every crevice of the era to suit this Disney production. A company whose namesake, ironically, bought into a good number of these horrendous notions in his day.

On the subject of those kid gloves - for a movie in which the two child leads are by far the best actors on screen, it's rather dizzying to have the adults who are going to be watching this (rather difficult to explain to a young child, I'd imagine - why would you go to the trouble of teaching, say, a six year old about the Holocaust only to have the light at the end of the tunnel be them having the proper context to watch Jojo Rabbit?) treated like what Keith Uhlich referred to as "drooling cretins who need their hands held through every shift in tone". There is no lesson to be learned here that isn't explored in a number of Hallmark Channel productions, no insight on the society we live in today (despite the fact that suddenly any pop cultural depiction of the rise of fascism somewhere else in world history is described as "timely" because we have a reality TV boob sweating on his pillow in the White House right now - even Malick isn't impervious to this sort of pandering opportunism), no plot surprises or twists or turns. Jojo Rabbit is a completely inert experience that plays out exactly like you expect it to - has the exact story beats you expect, the exact wacky "oh no you didn't!" Hitler performance you expect, the exact treacle you expect. It's just all... much worse than the sum of its own yawningly banal ambitions. I don't want to speculate as to what a person who lived through this era might think of this film. But I would not be surprised if their reaction was not offense, but surprise at the idea that anyone would want to spend $15 to purchase a Holocaust coloring book.

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#60 Post by knives » Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:09 am

Still excited for it. By the way I finished the book which is really great and features none of the problems you mention. It slowly shifts into a Bernhard novel with shades of a Wyler whose name I won't mention, but will be on everyone's mind after during reading.

I was reading an interview with Waititi about why he adapted the book which was interesting. Basically, his mother (who is Jewish) introduced the book to him saying it was the funniest thing she read in a while and that he should adapt it. He disagreed, but fell in love with the beginning premise. After speaking with the author he decided to adapt the book into his style of comedy.

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#61 Post by mfunk9786 » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:02 am

I hope you love it, knives - god knows I was in the minority in my audience. Although just based on what you've said about it so far, it sounds like the book is far more mature than the film.

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#62 Post by knives » Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:06 am

Without question. The book goes as far as 1947 which sounds radically outside the film's zone. I can't imagine their relationship carries the same Bunuelian vibe.

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#63 Post by Finch » Fri Oct 25, 2019 12:45 pm

Walter Chaw on the film
There are extremely good things about Jojo Rabbit, like the use of a German version of a Beatles standard to undercut images taken from Reifenstahl's Reich footage--a montage that demonstrates the power of not just a state-run media manipulation offensive that is not at all unlike our own Fox News contamination, but also how easily that same contamination can be neutralized and used as a palliative cure, should less diseased minds ever take control of the wheel again. It's all of that without commentary, and it's fantastic. The KKK in the United States lost much of its power when, in 1946, a very popular Superman radio show made great sport of how inbred and ridiculous its rites and rituals were. Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman performed a similar service. As we've seen, media can be an agency of extraordinary evil, but used correctly it can also be a restorative salve. Jojo Rabbit is Waititi's attempt to use media correctly. It can be said that all of his films are like this. So I find myself in this uncomfortable position of saying that even though I find Jojo Rabbit to be a largely unremarkable movie that trafficks in sentimentality and a Pollyannaish worldview I find cloying and repugnant and in this instance even dangerous, it's also the kind of thing that can potentially make a difference in a world that is, once again, entertaining the notion that there ever is such a thing as a good Nazi. I hope Waititi is right. I wonder if Waititi is right and I'm wrong: is it possible, once Fox is banned and this Administration is disgraced and imprisoned, that among the monsters who have revealed themselves in human form, there were a few humans in monster form? Maybe we do get a few of them back. Even as I wonder if we'll want them back, I would never be more grateful to be wrong.

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#64 Post by bottled spider » Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:02 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 4:27 pm
The Awards Watch forum has aptly called this “Moonreich Kingdom”— it def looks like a bad SNL parody of Wes Anderson
Someone on Letterboxd who apparently doesn't quite get how either analogies or wordplay work tried Inglorious Moonrise Kingdom.

Reviewers on the radio this morning were talking about their unease with portraying Hitler as a clownish buffoon, and weirdly no one mentioned the precedent of The Great Dictator.

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#65 Post by knives » Fri Oct 25, 2019 2:51 pm

Or the Hitler rap.

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#66 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Oct 25, 2019 3:22 pm

Or, hell, Inglorious Basterds.

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#67 Post by ianthemovie » Fri Nov 01, 2019 8:16 am

Days after seeing this (I didn't love it) it occurred to me that this is basically a remake of Lacombe, Lucien...right down to the use of rabbits! The difference between them is that the Malle is actually honest about its subject matter.

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#68 Post by whaleallright » Fri Nov 01, 2019 12:34 pm

The KKK in the United States lost much of its power when, in 1946, a very popular Superman radio show made great sport of how inbred and ridiculous its rites and rituals were.
Is this the 1940s version of insisting that Trevor Noah's latest segment "destroyed" Donald Trump?

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#69 Post by tehthomas » Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:14 pm

The acting, especially from the kids, was quite good. Roman Griffin Davis (and his twins?) were charming throughout, as was Sam Rockwell.
Script was probably the worst part of this film in terms of predictability.. except for the
SpoilerShow
impromptu home inspection and the mother's subsequent hanging
. Musical choices were uneven to me. Many of the jokes were not laugh out loud funny but I found them clever.

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#70 Post by knives » Sat Nov 02, 2019 8:12 pm

tehthomas wrote:
Fri Nov 01, 2019 7:14 pm
Script was probably the worst part of this film in terms of predictability.. except for the
SpoilerShow
impromptu home inspection and the mother's subsequent hanging
. Musical choices were uneven to me. Many of the jokes were not laugh out loud funny but I found them clever.
This comes from the book.

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Brian C
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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#71 Post by Brian C » Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:04 am

A few observations about this:

1) It took me awhile to recognize where I had seen Elsa before, and then it hit me: Debra Granik's Leave No Trace. What a remarkable young actor Thomasin McKenzie is. It's the best performance I've seen in a movie so far this year.

2) This movie pulls kind of a neat trick - it understands and even empathizes with how people can fall under the spell of fascism, while still gleefully making fascists look like idiots. I think the humor in the film is a lot more sophisticated than it's getting credit for here and elsewhere.

3) I don't actually see any resemblance between this film and Wes Anderson's films aside from some very superficial similarities. The Coens are a closer match, but still, it's not very much like the Coens either. Actually the film felt of kinship with Soderbergh more than anyone else to me, although I cannot really explain why that is or what in particular in the film reminded me of him. It's just that my mind wants to connect this to films like The Informant! and King of the Hill more than Wes Anderson. But I can't defend those connections.

4) The two scenes between Elsa and Rosie are both really wonderful scenes. Rosie's perspective on Jojo is heartbreaking both in her love and fear for him, and I think the film does a very good job of creating a very complex character out of her despite limited screentime.

5) I found the ending of the film very moving - to the point of actual tears - despite the cynic in me understanding full well how easy it would be to pigeonhole it as corny (or worse).

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#72 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:40 am

I'm with you on [most of] #1, Brian!

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#73 Post by therewillbeblus » Sun Dec 22, 2019 12:46 am

Brian C wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 1:04 am
2) This movie pulls kind of a neat trick - it understands and even empathizes with how people can fall under the spell of fascism, while still gleefully making fascists look like idiots. I think the humor in the film is a lot more sophisticated than it's getting credit for here and elsewhere.

3) I don't actually see any resemblance between this film and Wes Anderson's films aside from some very superficial similarities. The Coens are a closer match, but still, it's not very much like the Coens either. Actually the film felt of kinship with Soderbergh more than anyone else to me, although I cannot really explain why that is or what in particular in the film reminded me of him. It's just that my mind wants to connect this to films like The Informant! and King of the Hill more than Wes Anderson. But I can't defend those connections.
I mostly agree with point 2, even though I didn't find it to be particularly funny there's definitely a less-visible depth to the humorous content shadowed by the loud unidimensional satirical gags, a cleverness I appreciated more than I enjoyed. That ability to fuse humanism and parody simultaneously is intelligent and skillful, and the best part of the film.

As for your comparison with Soderbergh's two films, I can entertain that lens, mostly in that the two you throw out there deal with an internal conflict of identity and at times, in The Informant!, enigmatic rationale to supplement this space and create a conflict for the viewer too in accessing the character and story. Soderbergh is also great at having enough empathy for even his strangest characters with questionable motives, personalities, or even realities - which is in step with the above point. King of the Hill fits most clearly on the surface as a coming of age story that keeps the viewer in the space of mystery with the subjective perspective of the character, while The Informant! does basically the reverse in the end by increasing our hazy distance on Damon and turning him into the mystery, while keeping us close to him all the same to validate that humanity (I haven't seen it in a while but this is my recollection). Jojo Rabbit does a bit of both, finding a safer hybrid even if it's still complex, though far less successfully than either of these examples. I didn't like the film all that much unfortunately, but it's interesting to view it in that way and I'm glad you provided those seemingly offbeat examples for analysis rather than more obvious stylistic signifiers (and for the record, I don't see much of Anderson in this film either).

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#74 Post by The Narrator Returns » Sun Dec 22, 2019 1:15 am

King of the Hill is an interesting comparison, and I can sort of see it with King's more kids-movie sequences melting into something more harrowing. But I think King does a better job of gradually easing into the bleak reality of Aaron's situation (its best modern companion piece is Lady Bird, which is similarly light on its feet until the weight of what you've witnessed starts sinking in), while this just makes a U-turn from goofball silliness into the sap of a bad Robin Williams movie. And King nails the "as happy as it's gonna get" ending much better than Jojo, whose ending made me turn from just not really liking it to outright hating it.

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Re: Jojo Rabbit (Taika Waititi, 2019)

#75 Post by MichaelB » Mon Dec 23, 2019 5:56 am

bottled spider wrote:
Fri Oct 25, 2019 1:02 pm
Reviewers on the radio this morning were talking about their unease with portraying Hitler as a clownish buffoon, and weirdly no one mentioned the precedent of The Great Dictator.
...although Chaplin said that if he'd had the faintest idea of the atrocities that Hitler would end up committing after 1939 (when the film was actually shot), he'd never have done it.

When the script was completed, Stalin was many orders of magnitude worse than Hitler in terms of the amount of blood on his hands, including what historians now recognise was an actual genocide (Ukraine, c. 1933). In fact, this gave rise to the peculiar phenomenon of people fleeing the USSR for Nazi Germany, reasoning that Hitler couldn't possibly be as bad as what they'd escaped.

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