I ended up with an Amazon Prime Video subscription after I bought some shoes online a few months ago. I know, strange hey? Buy some shoes, get a free month’s trial of a streaming service. But to it’s credit, it’s managed to give me enough reasons since for me to continue paying my 9.99 per month with great stuff including Clarkson’s Farm and Reacher.
Last week I watched the captivating Joker with Joaquin Pheonix who put on an absolutely mesmerising performance from whoa to go.
And I ruined things by sitting through one of the worst comedies in human existence.
Why oh why do I do these things to myself?
On Amazon Prime Video the Joker is a must watch
I missed it at the cinema and given that it was released way back in 2019, well it’s fair to say I’ve pretty much slept on it since then. Which is slightly strange given that I truly enjoy my comics and when done right, Joker as a character has to one of the most fascinating of all time.
When done right of course, a relatively small list that up until now had Heath Ledger’s completely chaotic version sitting tall on his throne of twisted laughs looking down on some bizarre takes.
Every good film needs an utter bastard to throw various spanners into the works (especially when the hero least expects it or is at their direst moment) and honestly there’s been too many things I’ve watched recently where the villain starts off okay but then gets far too watered down by the end of things to be effective, or in the case of Neil Patrick Harris having oodles of fun as the Toymaker in the latest Doctor Who, ends up exiting far too quickly with not enough bastardry shown to really put his stamp on things.
(Although he gave it a red hot poke.)
Heath’s portrayal of the sadistic ‘Can’t get the hang of this razor’ Joker takes the DC lethal loony to extreme levels and can even make a packed cinema wince which just the use of a pencil (if you know, you know.) He lies, cheats, gets in batman’s head, escapes to cause more merry hell and makes himself just as important if not even more so than the caped crusader himself. He’s no wishy washing run of the mill crazy bad guy, he’s the unpredictable king of the asylum ready to burn it all down (with the inmates still inside probably on the slightest whim.
…Which of course was everything this follow up was not. Cut back to a mere ten minutes of screen time in Suicide Squad, Jarrod Leto’s version through no fault of his own (like Heath did, Leto got into lunatic character for months before shooting) was a pale (green) version of the classic character which turned the clown prince into just ‘The crazy guy with green hair and a gun dating Harley Quinn’. Yes he was mad, bad and crazy to know but nothing about him came close to the Joker I grew up watching or more to the point reading.
Which meant that coming up with a solo film about one of the greatest bad guys of all comic time would’ve been a daunting taste no matter who was in it. Unless Heath was still around, obviously.
But Joaquin Pheonix agreed to it, lost a lot of weight, got himself a little crazy and put on an absolute master class in creating one hell of a memorable villain, all without a single bat caped vigilante trying to kick his teeth in at every corner. And now on Amazon Prime Video you can relive this (or watch it again if you saw it previously.)
In my mind this version of Joker has managed to do the one thing that no other version on screen (I can’t say if it’s the same in the comics, I haven’t read them all) managed to and that is it made the viewer uncomfortable because we genuinely care about him for the most part, right until his psychosis takes over and oh god, here we go.
Arthur’s a nice guy who wants to make the world laugh. He cares for his mum (even though it turns out she has some major issues going on herself), he has aspirations for a comedy career, he’s trying to deal with his various mental problems as best as he can…but if the world could stop kicking the poor guy directly in the dick while he’s down, well that would be a big help.
But that’s the thing – he’s surviving badly in a time where mental issues didn’t get the focus they needed, where the rich could get away with just about anything (wait, that hasn’t changed..) and society both looked down and attempted to walk directly over people like him, because hey who cares about the little guy.
But he’s incredibly relatable because through being in the wrong place at the wrong time and having more than his fare share of bad days finally causes enough cracks for him to break. And there’s no one on this planet that could say I don’t really no what a bad day feels like. Unless they’ve somehow managed to suppress feelings now somewhere (could be a biohacking thing, not sure). We’ve all been down, luckily we haven’t all reached for the face paint.
All he wanted to do was make the world laugh but he had to go to extremes to get it to notice him first. And Joaquin’s performance of the character is arguable the most broken but also the most human of the lot, which in itself is terrifying because he’s the little guy turned popular monster.
If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend checking it out on Amazon Prime Video to witness yourself how this became the first 18+ movie to gross a billion dollars. And when the sequel to it comes out, you can bet your last comedy club ticket stub that I’ll be keen to see it.
However if there’s a follow up to what I watched next, I don’t care if it’s on Amazon Prime Video, Netflix or some streaming service I haven’t even heard of yet, I’m not watching it.
Oh Amazon Prime Video, why is this here?
Oh boy, parody movies – the extreme case of more misses than hits when swinging for the fences. Although I will admit, there are some gems in the quagmire of attempts of taking the piss out of regular Hollywood fair. Things like the Brady Bunch movies, Galaxy Quest (a classic!), Robin Hood Men in Tights (thanks Mel Brooks), Johnny English, Last Action Hero and the incredible Hot Fuzz.
But for every successful parody movie, there’s 99 other atrocious failures. Like most of the Scary Movies, Meet the Spartans and Holmes and Watson which was just dog fart bad.
Which means if Joker on Amazon Prime Video is one of the best things you can watch on it, then Stan Helsing is sitting pretty at the ass end of that list because mother of the gods is it awful.
After dealing with a giant cockroach in the video rental bathroom, Stan just wants to knock off work and go and party with his friends. However he’s tasked with one more video rental drop off (which for whatever reasons are gay porn DVDs) which leads our hapless cast in a very roundabout trip where Stan is to discover that he’s can hunt horror monsters or something. Because they want to kill him and his friends, or something. (Look I’d load this up on Amazon Prime Video to copy the official synopsis myself but one torturous look at this thing is more than enough I feel.)
Yes Freddie and Jason have ignored their rivalry for a moment, Pinhead has jumped in, Leatherface has included himself in this wacky ride and even a fairly grown Chucky doll is there for laughs. Well attempts at them anyway and they try to kill Stan while he tries to figure out the meaning of life while floundering around gawking at the next set of bouncy boobs that bounces along (hint: He doesn’t have to look far at all in this one.) They’ll meet perverts, hit a dog, do karaoke with evil, have a stripper flashback and meet Leslie Neilson…dressed as a woman in a haunted town of ghosts.
I wish I was kidding.
And I can only hope and sincerely on this too, that anyone in this horrendous idea of anything actually got paid well, like super well for this mess. Because it’s incredibly doubtful that Stan Helsing did anyone’s careers any favours whatsoever. Well unless Diora Baird (above right) used this to catapult here into even more cleavage heavy clusters because this flick would be the perfect launch pad.
Now credit where credit is due, Keenan Thompson is okay in this. It’s no Blizzard Man or Black Jeopardy SNL sketch but as the hapless off sider stuck in this force five horrendous hurricane, he’s the best of the bad bunch. Desi Lydic (Mia) brings some laughs with her naivety…and that’s about all the juice we’re going to wring out of this buck screaming to a sudden halt.
Leslie, comedy legend that you were and always will be, you’re lost in this I’m afraid. The rest is fart jokes, slut references and boobs which may have gone down better when I was 16 and a giggling idiot (eons ago) but I’d be hopeful I’d still have the sense back then that something was incredibly off from this one as soon as it started.
But hey, I get it. There’s a lid for every teapot and I guess a film for every palate complex or crude on Amazon Prime Video. It’s just my dumb luck that I managed to ruin on of the greats with one of the worst directly after it..
Keen for a free month‘s trial of Amazon Prime Video yourself to see how good Joker is and Stan Helsing isn’t? Here’s a referral link which may net me a small bonus if you try the trial without any further cost to you.
And if you enjoyed this, check out what happened when I finally worked out how to watch Predators again on Disney+!