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Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix Overacts So Hard It’s No Fun

(FromL) German US actress Zazie Beetz, US actor Joaquin Phoenix and US director Todd Phillips attend a photocall for the film “Joker” on August 31, 2019 presented in competition during the 76th Venice Film Festival at Venice Lido. (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP) (Photo credit should read ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s official. With Joker, Joaquin Phoenix is a certified graduate of the Acme Academy of Dramatic Arts. You want acting? Come and get it.

Skills on display include but are not limited to leering, jeering, airhorn-style blasts of laughter timed for maximum audience discomfort, funky-chicken style dance moves, the occasional blank, dead stare and assorted moony expressions indicating soulful lonerism.

But don’t for a minute think Phoenix isn’t funny, too. They say you never forget Clowning 101, and Phoenix hasn’t: He hops around like an unhinged Emmett Kelly, twisting his physique into weird and unsettling shapes. His body has a rubbery angularity, like a chicken bone soaked in Coca-Cola.

In Joker — playing in competition here at the Venice Film Festival — Phoenix is acting so hard you can feel the desperation throbbing in his veins. He leaves you wanting to start him a GoFundMe, so he won’t have to pour so much sweat into his job again. But the aggressive terribleness of his performance isn’t completely his fault. (He has often been, and generally remains, a superb actor. Just not here.)

Director Todd Phillips — who made frat-boy comedies like Road Trip and Old School before graduating to dude-bro comedies like The Hangover movies — bears at least some of the blame, and the aggressive and possibly irresponsible idiocy of Joker overall is his alone to answer for. Phillips may want us to think he’s giving us a movie all about the emptiness of our culture, but really, he’s just offering a prime example of it.

Joker is a stand-alone origin story that dovetails with, but does not strictly follow, DC Universe Batman lore. Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck — he’ll later become one of Batman’s nemeses, the Joker, in case you didn’t already know that — is an odd, lonely guy who lives at home with the mother (played by a wan Frances Conroy) he love-hates.

Arthur works for a sad rent-a-clown joint, and nothing ever goes right. This is clear from the moment we meet him: he’s tense, nervous and he can’t ever relax. The movie is set in a Gotham City that’s a lazy approximation of gritty 1970s-era New York, complete with garbage strikes and “super-rats” overrunning the city. On the job in clown costume, Arthur gets beaten up by a mob of nasty punks — and then almost gets fired because they stole and broke the “going out of business sign” he was twirling for a client.

More bad stuff happens, day in, day out. He gets angrier and more isolated by the minute. No one is ever kind to Arthur; he’s the world’s saddest punching bag.

When the city’s social services close down, he can no longer receive counseling there, or get his meds. (He carries around a little laminated card that he holds out helpfully whenever he laughs inappropriately, which is pretty much all the time. It reads, “Forgive my laughter, I have a brain injury.”) The one bright spot of his day, or night, is watching a Johnny Carson-style talk-show host, Murray Franklin (Robert De Niro), on television. He dreams of being a stand-up comic and someday being on the show. His wish will come true, but life will have beaten the poor lad down interminably before then.

As you can probably guess, all of Arthur’s travails are leading up to a series of “See what you made me do?” brutalities, most of which happen while he’s dressed up in his clown suit. Violence makes him feel more in control, less pathetic. Killing — usually with a gun, but scissors or a good old-fashioned suffocation will do just fine — empowers him.

But it’s not as if we don’t know how this pathology works: In America, there’s a mass shooting or attempted act of violence by a guy like Arthur practically every other week. And yet we’re supposed to feel some sympathy for Arthur, the troubled lamb; he just hasn’t had enough love. Before long, he becomes a vigilante folk hero — his first signature act is to kill a trio of annoying Wall Street spuds while riding the subway, which inspires the masses to don clown masks and march enthusiastically around the city with “Kill the Rich!” placards.

Arthur also tries to work out a personal beef with rich asshat and aspiring city mayor Thomas Wayne, father of you-know-who. Because, it turns out, Arthur has some daddy issues too. Who would have guessed?

Joker — which was written by Phillips and Scott Silver — doesn’t have a plot; it’s more like a bunch of reaction GIFs strung together. When Arthur gets fired from his clown job, he struts by the time-clock, deadpans, “Oh no, I forgot to punch out” and then, wait for it, socks it so hard it dangles from the wall. Make a note of the moment, because you’ll be seeing it a lot in your Twitter and Facebook feeds.

The movie’s cracks — and it’s practically all cracks — are stuffed with phony philosophy. Joker is dark only in a stupidly adolescent way, but it wants us to think it’s imparting subtle political or cultural wisdom. Just before one of his more violent tirades, Arthur muses, “Everybody just screams at each other. Nobody’s civil anymore.” Who doesn’t feel that way in our terrible modern times? But Arthur’s observation is one of those truisms that’s so true it just slides off the wall, a message that both the left and the right can get behind and use for their own aims. It means nothing.

Meanwhile, the movie lionizes and glamorizes Arthur even as it shakes its head, faux-sorrowfully, over his violent behavior. There’s an aimless subplot involving a neighbor in Arthur’s apartment building, played by Zazie Beetz, in an underdeveloped role. (Beetz also appears in another movie here at the festival, Benedict Andrews’s Seberg, where she’s given much more to do.) Arthur has a crush on her, and though he does her no harm, there’s still something creepily entitled about his attentiveness to her. He could easily be adopted as the patron saint of incels.

Arthur is a mess, but we’re also supposed to think he’s kind of great — a misunderstood savant. Dressed up for his big TV moment in a turquoise paisley shirt, marigold vest and dapper cranberry suit (admittedly a marvelous feat of costume design), Arthur struts down an outdoor stairway like a rock’n’roll hero. It’s the most energizing moment in the movie, but what is it winding us up for? Arthur inspires chaos and anarchy, but the movie makes it look like he’s starting a revolution, where the rich are taken down, the poor get everything they need and deserve, and the sad guys who can’t get a date become killer heroes. There’s a sick joke in there somewhere. Unfortunately, it’s on us.

By Stephanie Zacharek

Source: Joker Review: Joaquin Phoenix Overacts So Hard It’s No Fun | Time

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Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid

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Editors’ Note: Following the huge popularity of this post, article source Amy Morin has authored a guest post on exercises to increase mental strength here and Cheryl Conner has interviewed Amy in a Forbes video chat about this article here.

For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit,” optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”

However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don’t do. Over the weekend, I was impressed by this list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker,  that she shared in LifeHack. It impressed me enough I’d also like to share her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to entrepreneurs.

1.    Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”

2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

3.    Shy Away from Change. Mentally strong people embrace change and they welcome challenge. Their biggest “fear,” if they have one, is not of the unknown, but of becoming complacent and stagnant. An environment of change and even uncertainty can energize a mentally strong person and bring out their best.

4. Waste Energy on Things They Can’t Control. Mentally strong people don’t complain (much) about bad traffic, lost luggage, or especially about other people, as they recognize that all of these factors are generally beyond their control. In a bad situation, they recognize that the one thing they can always control is their own response and attitude, and they use these attributes well.

5. Worry About Pleasing Others. Know any people pleasers? Or, conversely, people who go out of their way to dis-please others as a way of reinforcing an image of strength? Neither position is a good one. A mentally strong person strives to be kind and fair and to please others where appropriate, but is unafraid to speak up. They are able to withstand the possibility that someone will get upset and will navigate the situation, wherever possible, with grace.

6. Fear Taking Calculated Risks. A mentally strong person is willing to take calculated risks. This is a different thing entirely than jumping headlong into foolish risks. But with mental strength, an individual can weigh the risks and benefits thoroughly, and will fully assess the potential downsides and even the worst-case scenarios before they take action.

7. Dwell on the Past. There is strength in acknowledging the past and especially in acknowledging the things learned from past experiences—but a mentally strong person is able to avoid miring their mental energy in past disappointments or in fantasies of the “glory days” gone by. They invest the majority of their energy in creating an optimal present and future.

8. Make the Same Mistakes Over and Over. We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s when we take the same actions again and again while hoping for a different and better outcome than we’ve gotten before. A mentally strong person accepts full responsibility for past behavior and is willing to learn from mistakes. Research shows that the ability to be self-reflective in an accurate and productive way is one of the greatest strengths of spectacularly successful executives and entrepreneurs.

9. Resent Other People’s Success. It takes strength of character to feel genuine joy and excitement for other people’s success. Mentally strong people have this ability. They don’t become jealous or resentful when others succeed (although they may take close notes on what the individual did well). They are willing to work hard for their own chances at success, without relying on shortcuts.

10. Give Up After Failure. Every failure is a chance to improve. Even the greatest entrepreneurs are willing to admit that their early efforts invariably brought many failures. Mentally strong people are willing to fail again and again, if necessary, as long as the learning experience from every “failure” can bring them closer to their ultimate goals.

11. Fear Alone Time. Mentally strong people enjoy and even treasure the time they spend alone. They use their downtime to reflect, to plan, and to be productive. Most importantly, they don’t depend on others to shore up their happiness and moods. They can be happy with others, and they can also be happy alone.

12. Feel the World Owes Them Anything. Particularly in the current economy, executives and employees at every level are gaining the realization that the world does not owe them a salary, a benefits package and a comfortable life, regardless of their preparation and schooling. Mentally strong people enter the world prepared to work and succeed on their merits, at every stage of the game.

13. Expect Immediate Results. Whether it’s a workout plan, a nutritional regimen, or starting a business, mentally strong people are “in it for the long haul”. They know better than to expect immediate results. They apply their energy and time in measured doses and they celebrate each milestone and increment of success on the way. They have “staying power.” And they understand that genuine changes take time. Do you have mental strength? Are there elements on this list you need more of? With thanks to Amy Morin, I would like to reinforce my own abilities further in each of these areas today. How about you?

Cheryl Snapp Conner is a frequent speaker and author on reputation and thought leadership. You can subscribe to her team’s bi-weekly newsletter, The Snappington Post, here.

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I am an entrepreneur and communications expert from Salt Lake City and founder of SnappConner PR. I am the author of Beyond PR

 

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/11/18/mentally-strong-people-the-13-things-they-avoid/#2bd3b0056d75

Celebrities at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival

Cannes Film Festival 2019 Julianne Moore

At the opening press conference on Monday, Theirry Frémaux, artistic director of the festival, addressed the decision directly and dismissed any criticism. “We’re not giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Alain Delon,” Frémaux said. “We’re giving him the honorary Palme D’Or for his career as an actor.” He continued, “Nowadays it’s difficult to give awards, to honor someone, because the political police immediately appear. Alain Delon is not perfect. I’m not perfect.”

What is always pretty flawless at Cannes, of course, are the legion of celebrities who come to the French Riviera for one of the most important film festivals of the year. The opening night movie—the zombie comedy The Dead Don’t Die by beloved Cannes auteur Jim Jarmusch—features one of the most eclectic casts ever to walk the red carpet, including Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Chloe Sevigny, Tilda Swinton, Selena Gomez, and Tom Waits.

Other celebrities who came out for the opening ceremony include director Alejandro González Iñárritu, president of the jury overseeing the main competition; jury member Elle Fanning (who wore a Gucci gown with Chopard diamonds); Julianne Moore (above, in an emerald Dior gown with matching emerald jewels by Chopard); Alessandra Ambrosio (in a diaphanous Ralph & Russo gown with Bouchon jewels and René Caovilla shoes); and Eva Longoria (who wore a custom Alberta Ferretti gown).

In addition to Jarmusch’s The Dead Don’t Die, the pre-festival favorite for the Palme d’Or is Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time . . . in Hollywood, which will have its three stars—Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, and Margot Robbie—lighting up the red carpet. The supporting cast isn’t too shabby either, including Al Pacino, Lena Dunham, Damian Lewis and the late Luke Perry.

Set in 1969 Los Angeles, the film stars DiCaprio as Rick Dalton, an actor trying to transition from television to movies, while Pitt plays his stunt double and best friend. Robbie portrays Dalton’s neighbor, actress Sharon Tate, who was married to director Roman Polanski at the time and was murdered in her home that summer by followers of Charles Manson.

Once Upon a Time will premiere 25 years after Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and despite that omen the movie is by no means a lock for the award. Also in competition is Pain and Glory, starring Antonio Banderas and Penélope Cruz, and directed by Cannes favorite Pedro Almodóvar. And Terrence Malick’s A Hidden Life, about an Austrian who refuses to fight for the Third Reich during World War II, is expected to generate lots of buzz on the famed Croisette.

Among the most anticipated films out of competition is the Elton John biopic Rocketman starring Taron Egerton in the title role. Will Egerton’s performance, in which he does his own singing, help blast him off to an Oscar like Rami Malek’s Freddie Mercury portrayal in Bohemian Rhapsody? The film hits the yellow brick road on May 16 and will be released on May 31.

But even if the Cannes Film Festival didn’t have Rocketman, the fans (and of course the paparazzi) really come to see the galaxy of stars.

I am the editor of ForbesLife (né Forbes FYI), a luxury lifestyle publication covering fashion, travel, cars, watches, and other indulgences.

Source: Celebrities at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival

20-year-old college student says Uber driver left her on side of the road when he found out she was getting an abortion

A 20-year-old college student’s Reddit post about “the worst, most backwards day” of her life is gaining traction online after she recounted how she was dropped on the side of the road by an Uber driver who disagreed with her decision to get an abortion.

Claire Montgomery, a pseudonym, was faced with a difficult decision after finding out that she was pregnant in March. The college sophomore at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that she was talking to her boyfriend, who attends school in North Carolina, about how her period had been about a week late. And although she had put aside the anxiety of possibly being pregnant because she had previously taken Plan B, an emergency contraception pill, she took a pregnancy test and realized that what she feared had come true.

“The minute I saw that the test was positive I called my boyfriend, hysterical, and told him the news,” Montgomery says. “I cried for the rest of the weekend and stayed in bed. I didn’t go outside unless I absolutely had to. I shut down.”

The student explains that she felt that she couldn’t confide in anybody at school about the pregnancy or her decision to get an abortion because it wasn’t “an appropriate or proportional response to innocent small talk” taking place on campus or in class. Montgomery also felt uncomfortable about unnecessarily burdening other people with her “personal problems.”

Montgomery faced more discomfort, however, when she turned to Uber for a ride to a doctor’s appointment on March 21, where she was going for a non-surgical medical abortion by herself.

“The minute I got into the car, there was inexplicable tension. My driver didn’t greet me or confirm my name or the destination; he was just silent. After a few minutes, he asked if we were going to a Planned Parenthood,” she says. “I was confused about why he would ask me this, considering there was nothing in the address I put in that would suggest it was a Planned Parenthood or even near one. I said, ‘No, I’m just going to a doctor’s appointment.’ A few more minutes of uncomfortable silence passed. Then he asked, ‘Are… are we going to an abortion clinic?’ I was dumbfounded.”

Montgomery admits that tears immediately came to her eyes, and she felt like her heart had stopped beating.

“All the embarrassment and shame I had been feeling the last week or so rose to the surface,” she says. “I looked at him pleadingly, silently begging him to stop.”

The driver, identified only by Montgomery as Scott, continued to press her for information before describing the procedure to her in detail.

“I know it’s none of my business, but you’re going to regret this for the rest of your life,” he allegedly told her. “There’s so much they don’t tell you. You’re making a mistake.”

Montgomery checked the map on her phone in the moments that she had service, as they were driving through a rural area just outside of Ithaca. The ride would still be another 35 minutes when the driver suddenly pulled over near a small gas station and antiques shop on Route 38 and told Montgomery that he couldn’t take her any farther.

The young woman says that despite the sudden end to her ride, she thanked him as she got out of the car on the side of a road in Upstate New York.

“I was scared and I felt more alone than I had ever felt,” she says.

But she was still set on finding a way to her appointment.

“I took refuge on the porch of the antiques shop and called my parents, each three times. No answer. I called my boyfriend, who I had been texting throughout this whole ordeal, and he picked up on the first ring. Through my heaves and sobs I managed to tell him the situation,” she recalls. “As I called the three cab companies closest to me, my Uber driver waited 10 feet away, probably expecting me to go back to Ithaca with him. After about 15 minutes, he asked me once more if I wanted him to drive me back. Firmly, I said no thank you. He drove away, and about 15 minutes later a cab came.”

Montgomery paid $120 for a cab that took her the remaining half-hour of the drive. When she got to the clinic an hour after her appointment time, she felt “incredible relief” to be in the company of doctors who treated her with dignity and respect. She admits that her ride home was also uncomfortable, but she didn’t feel unsafe as she had during the Uber ride prior.

“I debated sticking up for myself, justifying my choice to get an abortion with my young age or my inability to provide for this child financially had I brought it to term, but I knew I shouldn’t have to justify my choices to anyone, least of all my Uber driver,” she says. “Was responding to this man’s harassment potentially worth my life? Would my responding actually change anything, or deescalate the situation? Maybe, but to me, it wasn’t worth the risk.”

For a split second, Montgomery says she even considered exiting the vehicle while it was in motion, thinking that even a life-threatening injury was preferable to being in the car.

But Montgomery opted to not take action in that moment, which she notes “is a decision I’ll always regret.” Once she was home though, she reported Scott to Uber and filed a police report with the Ithaca Police Department.

“The officer I met with who filed the report was very sympathetic, but he insisted that nothing criminal had actually occurred,” she explains. “Uber comped my ride, and after telling them I filed a police report against the driver, a representative immediately got in touch with me and apologized for my experience on Uber’s behalf. He said they would launch an investigation, during which Scott’s account would be suspended, so he’d be unable to pick up riders. Within a few days, the representative said Scott was permanently banned from the app.”

Uber confirmed to Yahoo Lifestyle that the driver was removed from the service as his actions violated the company’s community guidelines. Montgomery says it was a small price for Scott to pay.

“Sometimes I think of Scott going home to his family and feeling like a hero for what he did. A job driving for Uber is a small price to pay for a misguided attempt at saving a life, right? I imagine his colleagues at his main job (if he has one) patting him on the back, congratulating him for his courageous decision to leave a 20-year-old pregnant girl on the side of the road, alone, in March, with no way back home except with him, in the back of the car he just expelled her from,” she says. “He’ll never understand the ramifications of his actions. He’ll never know the pain he caused. He’ll never pay for what he did in the way that I’ve paid for it, emotionally and psychologically.”

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To help with the emotional pain, Montgomery turned to Reddit, where she shared her story and received more than 3,500 responses — most of which she says were positive. Now, nearly a month after that fateful day, she said that Reddit played a part in her healing.

“Writing about it felt akin to writing in a diary; I was rushing to get it all on the page, and writing it down helped me to process it,” Montgomery says. “Reddit was an unbelievable comfort and resource, and I’m not sure what I would have done without it.”

Montgomery has since taken to the legal advice subreddit, where she’s looking for guidance on how to pursue further legal action.

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Source: 20-year-old college student says Uber driver left her on side of the road when he found out she was getting an abortion

Color of Clouds – Penny Wilson #writephoto — Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

People think that your eyes are blue I know better the real you the one you show only to me I know your eyes are the color of clouds against a blue, blue sky Continue reading at Penny Wilson Writes

via Color of Clouds ~ Penny Wilson #writephoto — Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo

Lessons Learned — Ricardo

As the sky smiles, the street tears the chunks Fear units more than courage, a rock has sunk Wants the knowledge, he is back to that youth The barefoot cries, are unknown to love & truth He’ll never forget, lessons learned through hurt A tasted victory, a forced witness, a false rebirth A wish for […]

via Lessons Learned — Ricardo

Life Lessons: Durable, 3 — Ricardo

• WHERE IS THE GOOD • Turn (right), you (left) bigots! Here: Beethoven was deaf! Stevie Wonder is blind, he charms audiences like a theft Crazy Einstein? the planet’s brightest physicist? – I dare! and Hawking Steve is the mathematician stuck to a chair Where is the good? …in me being on my back paralysed […]

via Durable, 3 — Ricardo

2019: Taking Responsibility, Taking Flight! — land Undefined

In this post, I am piggybacking off of my last entry where someone left a comment that has left me thinking. I was writing from a place of pain, sharing my deepest heartache of having to let go and walk away from my family. I went back into the fire recently and was burned badly […]

via 2019: Taking Responsibility, Taking Flight! — land Undefined

If You Want To Achieve Long Term Happiness, Embrace The Growth Mindset – Chris Myers

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Everyone seeks the fastest and easiest path to happiness. It’s what drives us as humans. Hoping for a silver bullet that will get us to that end goal, be it wealth, love, or fame. Only when that goal has been met, we reason, will we be happy. I’ve read every book and even written a few about this journey. However all, my own included, have left me unsatisfied. To help find the answer, I’ve surrounded myself with successful people. I’ve gotten to know the famous, the ultra-wealthy, and brilliant……..

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/chrismyers/2018/10/20/if-you-want-to-achieve-long-term-happiness-embrace-the-growth-mindset/#5878681530d3

Why Following Your Passions Is Good for You (and How to Get Started) – Lizz Schumer

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Before Andrew Rea started his popular “Binging With Babish” YouTube channel, he could barely get out of bed. Today, he credits the show, which inspires its three million subscribers to make their favorite “as seen on TV” dishes, with saving his life. In 2015, six months before starting the channel, Mr. Rea, a former visual effects supervisor, was overcome with depression. But by combining his passions for food and filmmaking, as well as seeking professional help, he rediscovered how using those passions could lead to a rewarding career……

Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/10/smarter-living/follow-your-passion-hobbies-jobs-self-care.html

 

 

 

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