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kenmorefield

Jojo Rabbit (20190

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It appears that we have no thread for this and just a few mentions in festival threads. Given that it won the People's Choice Award at TIFF (as did Green Book) and is thus on an Oscar shortlist, I figured I'd give it its own thread. 

I wrote a review comparing it to Huck Finn as a way, I hope of explaining both why I liked it but also why it didn't quite have the emotional oomph that I thought it should:

https://1morefilmblog.com/2019/10/22/jojo-rabbit-and-huck-finn/

Quote

 

In the case of both The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Jojo Rabbit, this critique of the dominant ideology (racist pro-slavery sentiment, and fascist anti-antisemitism) is underlined by the growth of the protagonist’s moral consciousness prompted by prolonged exposure to a representative of his culture’s demonized or marginalized people-group.

Author’s note: Ahead there are plot spoilers.

What actually sold me on Jojo Rabbit, however, is that unlike some of the other stories referenced, it shows the moral development of the adolescent to be fragile and prone to setbacks.

 

 

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Wasn't a fan of this. I am sympathetic to vjmorton's dismissal of the film for failing to pick a lane and stay in it.

I made a point of watching all of Waititi's previous films before seeing this -- the only one I had already seen was Thor: Ragnarok (aka "Lego Thor"), which I really didn't like either of the times that I saw it -- and I was particularly charmed by Eagle vs Shark and amused by What We Do in the Shadows, while appreciating the boy-needs-a-father(-figure) storylines of Boy and Hunt for the WilderpeopleJojo Rabbit obviously has some of that absentee-dad stuff going on, but, ugh, it's way over on the Thor: Ragnarok end of the spectrum -- which is not a good thing, as far as I'm concerned.

Edited to add: In the controversy over Martin Scorsese's recent comments about Marvel movies and how they lack "genuine emotional danger", someone on Twitter seriously replied that Scorsese should see Thor: Ragnarok -- a film that goes further than just about any other Marvel movie in undercutting the seriousness of every scene with tone-shifting "humour". Jojo Rabbit has that same glib aesthetic (as I said on Twitter, if you liked Thor: Ragnarok's glib approach to the apocalypse, you'll *love* Jojo Rabbit's glib approach to the Holocaust). This is a movie for the sort of people who think shouting "Fuck you, Hitler!" is deep or something.

And yes, I know there's no point in complaining about the lack of "accuracy" in a movie like this, but the real Hitler was an anti-smoking vegetarian, and I have a hard time believing that any child raised in Hitler's Germany would imagine him chowing down on a unicorn or constantly offering a kid cigarettes. (Hitler had racist reasons for hating smoking -- something to do with his attitude towards Native Americans -- but reportedly his vegetarianism was motivated by his distaste for cruelty towards animals, which is of course weird in light of his cruelty towards humans, but those are the sorts of paradoxes that make us what we are.)

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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Count me in the disappointed category with this one.  Like Ragnarok, but unlike Waititi's earlier films, much of the humor felt forced.  I also felt that the clashing tones of humor, historical horror, and family tragedy did not mesh well.  By comparison with Parasite (fresh in my mind from seeing it last weekend), the social commentary seems so broad and unsubtle here that it lacked bite or significance for me.

So, I guess I'm reiterating every point Peter made last week.  Even Jojo's ahistoricity bugged me as well.  I have no doubt that the treatment of Nazi captors by US soldiers depicted here happened spottily across the war, but it was hardly typical, and I'm skeptical it would've occurred so flagrantly at this juncture of the war.  It made for a tidy plot point but struck me as phony.

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I can't honestly dispute any of that, but I did find it one of those movies where,  especially the second time around, I didn't care about the faults all that much. 

I guess I'm about the feels these days, and Jojo Rabbit made me feet something whereas Parasite just didn't.

I've also been wondering how much those traits are typical in just about any comedy that somehow becomes popular. (I'm thinking especially of like Mel Brooks or Monty Python.) 

Plus, well....Rilke. The movie wins.

 

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On 11/24/2019 at 1:32 PM, kenmorefield said:

I can't honestly dispute any of that, but I did find it one of those movies where,  especially the second time around, I didn't care about the faults all that much. 

I guess I'm about the feels these days, and Jojo Rabbit made me feet something whereas Parasite just didn't.

I've also been wondering how much those traits are typical in just about any comedy that somehow becomes popular. (I'm thinking especially of like Mel Brooks or Monty Python.) 

Plus, well....Rilke. The movie wins.

 

Perhaps move this over to the Parasite thread, but can you expand a bit on why Parasite failed to move you, since I certainly felt a range of emotions during the film — elation, fear, sympathy, etc.

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On ‎11‎/‎24‎/‎2019 at 1:32 PM, kenmorefield said:

I've also been wondering how much those traits are typical in just about any comedy that somehow becomes popular. (I'm thinking especially of like Mel Brooks or Monty Python.)

I dunno; the truly great comedies - O Brother, Where Art Thou?; Blazing Saddles; Airplane!; Holy Grail; most of Scott Pilgrim, Borat - felt unforced to me on first and subsequent viewings.

Edited by Andrew

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21 hours ago, Anders said:

Perhaps move this over to the Parasite thread, but can you expand a bit on why Parasite failed to move you, since I certainly felt a range of emotions during the film — elation, fear, sympathy, etc.

I can try, though such explanations are normally conjectural. 

One deterrent to emotion was predictability. I was never surprised in Parasite. I felt as though you could have told me the premise and the filmmaker and the film I imagined would be largely what I got. In Jojo, there were at least 2-3 places where the film surprised me even if I understood the basic arc and direction from the beginning. I found Parasite had pacing problems, which usually means for me that I'm ahead of the movie and waiting for it to catch up instead of having given myself over to the movie and willing to follow along. 

I suppose, too, that I found a kind of nihilistic determinism about Parasite the worked to repress emotion because I find the underlying philosophy so uninspiring. We're all victims of mammon, life is one giant battle royale, the poor share the same selfishness and contempt for those less fortunate as do the rich. There was nobody I could root for or identify with. Sympathy is a weaker emotion than empathy.

Perhaps the second half would have carried more emotion for me if if I felt the film in some way interrogated those ideas or if it had done a better job of seducing me into some sort of righteous identification that could have been undercut. But I felt like instead of doing the harder job of giving the antagonists moments of humanity, it goes the easier route of just making the protagonists more determined. 

 

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As I've said on Twitter and Letterboxd, Jojo didn't work for me at all, and as someone who really loves What We Do in the Shadows I was very disappointed for that to be the case. The Producers Wes Anderson mashup was too tonally jarring for my tastes, and as well-intentioned as the film was, I thought the quirky, twee aspect unwittingly trivialized the horrors of the Third Reich.

Parasite, on the other hand, committed to its bleak premise with 100% conviction and while it solely stayed in its lane, it did so with a no holds barred gusto that has it currently in contention for my favorite film this year.

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