Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

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knives
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#26 Post by knives » Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:17 pm

Or Terence Stamp in The Limey. That man can't age ugly.

conspirator12
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#27 Post by conspirator12 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:35 pm

"Trashy" and unpleasant, a kind of stately, surreal redneck pornography, also disarmingly poetic--particularly a scene where the 12-year old played by Juno Temple repeatedly screams "I need to change!" upon realizing her family has sold her body to a policeman. Could be a feminist reading of Anti-Oedipus. Maybe not.

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Brian C
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#28 Post by Brian C » Sat Aug 11, 2012 3:37 pm

Her character is not really 12.

McCrutchy
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#29 Post by McCrutchy » Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:43 pm

Brian C wrote:Her character is not really 12.
To be fair, she did appear to have that mental age sometimes.

conspirator12
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#30 Post by conspirator12 » Sat Aug 11, 2012 5:53 pm

Yes, I meant her mental age.

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Brian C
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#31 Post by Brian C » Sat Aug 11, 2012 6:02 pm

McCrutchy wrote:To be fair, she did appear to have that mental age sometimes.
Her character is a weakness in the film, IMO, because she's so inscrutable. When required she's childlike and innocent, otherwise she's deeper than she lets on, and it goes back and forth depending on what the movie requires from her at the time. The other characters I thought were pretty well sketched, but she was a problem for me.

conspirator12
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#32 Post by conspirator12 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:36 am

Long, good interview here: http://mubi.com/notebook/posts/the-croo ... m-friedkin" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Cold Bishop
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#33 Post by Cold Bishop » Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:16 am

Sweet Moses, this is one hell of a movie! I don't know if I like it or hate it; I don't know that I can defend it intellectuality; I wouldn't even dare to defend it morally... But just based off the plain powerful glee with which the film's executed, it's not something you can shake off easily. It's that rare breed of film, seemingly fueled only on its own sense of abandon, its utter immorality, its own absolute refusal - scratch that - it's own absolute inability to restrain itself. I'm sure plenty of people will hate this movie, but it's also a film that - had it allowed any moderation, had it stopped one moment to second-guess itself, to try to moralize or apologize for what was on the screen - it would probably ended up more reprehensible, would have become overwrought, crossed over into camp.

It's the unholy union of Jim Thompson, Harold Pinter and John Waters (or as Waters himself said: ""Killer Joe is the best Russ Meyer movie of the year."). I squirmed in my seat, shook my head in exasperation, questioned whether there was any redeemable value to what I was watching... but when the film smash-cut to black, and Clarence Carter's "Strokin" unexpectedly, in one final stroke of bad taste, blared over the theater speakers, I'd be lying if I told you that a big smile didn't settle on my face.

And while everyone is talking about McConaughey - as they should: it's his seductive, steely, frightening presence that probably goes the furthest in keeping the film from tipping into camp - has Thomas Haden Church ever been better!?

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HistoryProf
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#34 Post by HistoryProf » Thu Sep 20, 2012 9:38 pm

triodelover wrote:The post is sexist because you never hear a comment like that about a 50-year-old man. I didn't hear anyone say how remarkably good looking George Clooney was for a 50-year-old man last year. In fact, the only time I can recall any comment about a man's appearance and his age was when Paul Newman turned 70 - and that comment was made by Robert Redford out of envy.

It's also ageist because the post conveys a certain amazement that 50 can be attractive and if 50 is attractive, it certainly isn't as attractive as, well, any younger age of your choice and therefore must but judged by different standards, sort of like the Paralympics. It comes across as the kind of statement you might expect from a particularly clueless sophomore in high school. (And discussion about her pubic hair cements the location as your favorite high school locker room at gym class.)

Considering the usual high intellectual level of discussion on this forum - I'll turn 64 next month (just another reason the comment offends) and I never fail to learn something worthwhile when I read here - all in all it's a pretty damn disappointing exchange.
I can't decide which of the three bolded comments are funnier.* Surely you see that he was merely saying that Gina Gershon just happens to be incredibly attractive AND 50...and in that subset of women who are 50ish, she is the most attractive one to him. (I'd go with Diane Lane myself). It's not like there's a shortage of them. This is an insane over reaction to an offhand comment.

As for KJ - I had the pleasure of seeing this tonight as the local art house held it over for another week. It was actually even better than i'd been lead to believe, and I am astonished at how good an actor MM has become. Outside of Emile Hirsch (not sure what it is about him, but he doesn't quite hold up next to everyone else), the cast was absolutely superb. I loved everything about this flick and actually can't wait to see it again. It's reputation had me convinced it was a one viewing kind of movie, but there is a surprising about of humorous subtext to all the malevolence. Thomas Haden Church is absolutely brilliant, and whoever it is that played Dottie...my god. She was so perfect for the role I couldn't stop smiling in the scenes she took over. It manages to be darkly funny without sliding into over the top campiness, deeply creepy in certain scenes, and is just brilliantly constructed, shot, and acted.

As for the rating, I can only assume the NC-17 came as a result of
SpoilerShow
the fried chicken fellatio scene?
The bursts of violence in Drive were far more graphic in my opinion. It just isn't an overly violent film, while the nudity isn't exactly excessive. The above mentioned scene is the only reason I can come up for the rating....was this addressed anywhere?

And just because I need closure in all things, any guess on whether
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Dottie shot Joe?
I'm tempted to say yes...it just seems to fit the insanity of the entire final act.

*and of course I kid the third one in jest.

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domino harvey
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#35 Post by domino harvey » Fri Dec 14, 2012 11:13 pm

Cold Bishop wrote: I squirmed in my seat, shook my head in exasperation, questioned whether there was any redeemable value to what I was watching... but when the film smash-cut to black, and Clarence Carter's "Strokin" unexpectedly, in one final stroke of bad taste, blared over the theater speakers, I'd be lying if I told you that a big smile didn't settle on my face.?
I'll do you one better: I burst into all-out, exasperated, incredulous, cathartic laughter that continued into and through the entire end credits. Holy hell, what a slimy masterpiece this is, the never-realized fully-imagined Pulp Fiction ripoff from the 90s that failed to materialize despite the dozens of attempts which populated pay cable channels for years after. At what point do we accept that trash executed with this level of skill, novelty, and audacity is no longer trash at all, but high art disguised in bloody rags?

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mfunk9786
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#36 Post by mfunk9786 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:03 pm

Welcome aboard, my friend! You should watch Bug immediately if you haven't seen it yet.

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domino harvey
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#37 Post by domino harvey » Sat Dec 15, 2012 12:13 pm

I saw the play (when I lived in Oklahoma, fittingly) and hated it, so as much as I enjoyed this and Letts' August: Osage County (which I've only read, not seen performed), I can't say Bug is high on my To Watch list

The Third Man
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#38 Post by The Third Man » Sat Dec 15, 2012 1:31 pm

domino harvey wrote:I'll do you one better: I burst into all-out, exasperated, incredulous, cathartic laughter that continued into and through the entire end credits. Holy hell, what a slimy masterpiece this is, the never-realized fully-imagined Pulp Fiction ripoff from the 90s that failed to materialize despite the dozens of attempts which populated pay cable channels for years after. At what point do we accept that trash executed with this level of skill, novelty, and audacity is no longer trash at all, but high art disguised in bloody rags?
Your reaction mirrored mine; though I haven't seen a large number of 2012 films (I'm hoping to rectify that in the coming weeks), Killer Joe is easily film of the year for me. I practically jumped out of my seat laughing when it smashed to black, and didn't stop for most of the ride home. In between, I called a friend who had been looking for my reaction, and I doubt if he could even understand half of what I said over my breathless gushing and hysterical laughter. Maybe the funniest as well as the darkest black comedy I've ever seen. It felt like a William Faulkner novel as done by the Coen Bros. in comedy mode, and cranked up to 11. Only Friedkin would be so ballsy; this is about as lively and provocative a late-career film as I can remember, particularly from such a major director. Though I'm sure you guys have a host of contenders for that distinction.

There's so many great little comedic details: the way Sharla opens the door for her stepson vagina-first, Ansel picking up a discarded beer bottle and swirling it around to see if any is left before taking a swig, Ansel pinning Chris to the refrigerator so that Joe can more effectively beat him up, even the broad slapstick of Sharla pulling at a loose thread on Ansel's jacket and the whole sleeve tearing off (not to mention the ungodly tacky trucker hat he wears as part of his funeral ensemble).

McConaughey is just brilliant. I'm so glad he's harnessed his talent after all this time and turned it loose in some truly excellent films. And given Joe's relationship with Dottie, I'll never be able to look at Wooderson jokes the same way again...

wattsup32
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#39 Post by wattsup32 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:32 pm

domino harvey wrote:I saw the play (when I lived in Oklahoma, fittingly) and hated it, so as much as I enjoyed this and Letts' August: Osage County (which I've only read, not seen performed), I can't say Bug is high on my To Watch list
Not to derail, but you lived in Oklahoma!? When, for how long, and, for the love of God, why?

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domino harvey
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#40 Post by domino harvey » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:44 pm


wattsup32
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#41 Post by wattsup32 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:36 pm

Well, and I mean this sincerely, Dom, you are by far my favorite boardmember. I almost never agree with you, but I always look forward to what you have to say. Now I know why.

I was born and raised there. I moved away when I went off to college. I had no idea there were so many people here who were from Oklahoma (or at least spent significant time there). And so many from Tulsa, too!

Thanks for the link to the thread. I'll move my Oklahoma love over there instead of derailing this thread.

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swo17
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#42 Post by swo17 » Sat Dec 15, 2012 8:38 pm

In case this explains anything, my mother recently unearthed a Trapper Keeper from my junior high days in Midwest City (need I remind you, before the advent of the internet). Every line of every page read (wait for it) http://www.criterionforums.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

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oldsheperd
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#43 Post by oldsheperd » Mon Dec 31, 2012 8:17 pm

Amazing film.
The ending, while abrupt, left a big grin of satisfaction on my face. This film crescendos into one nihilistic clusterfuck at the end which is the only ending that would have been proper.
As far as Dottie being simple, she's not. She's just as cunning as the other characters, but she plays off her naivety to get everyone to do what she wants.

boywonder
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#44 Post by boywonder » Thu Jan 17, 2013 1:46 am

oldsheperd wrote:Amazing film.
The ending, while abrupt, left a big grin of satisfaction on my face. This film crescendos into one nihilistic clusterfuck at the end which is the only ending that would have been proper.
As far as Dottie being simple, she's not. She's just as cunning as the other characters, but she plays off her naivety to get everyone to do what she wants.
Exactly! Dottie is not simple. In fact, she is the smartest cookie in the film! Where has Julian Temple's daughter been? She certainly seems to have arrived fully formed for action. Friedkin says in the very good commentary that she sent him her video with a scene she filmed using her brother as the foil.

This will be recovered and remembered as great film noir in 15 years, right along side of "The Killer Inside of Me". Friedkin still manages to shock and strike a home run decades after films like "Boys In The Band." More power to him!

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gcgiles1dollarbin
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#45 Post by gcgiles1dollarbin » Thu Mar 14, 2013 7:06 pm

This was a tightly written script, although there seem to be some omissions that beg questions when it comes to character motivations:
SpoilerShow
most conspicuously, why did Chris suddenly develop an intense desire to save his sister from Joe? The characters were so morally bankrupt that this (perhaps self-serving) chivalry seemed wholly out of place, particularly given that he is so willing to sacrifice her as a "retainer" at first. There is a quick scene during which Chris thoughtfully watches the light extinguish in the trailer at the end of Joe and Dottie's first night together, which I guess suggests the brother's misgivings, but it is so fleeting, I didn't quite understand the sudden intensity that follows. Like others above, I disliked Emile Hirsch's performance, so this, too, could have affected my impression of his miraculous devotion to his sister.
Overall, I think the clever lines are distributed too often to characters who, given their lack of basic apprehension throughout the film, are not likely to utter them, whether it's Ansel (at the pickup truck after he and Sharla discover who the beneficiary is) or Dottie at different moments, as she oscillates uncannily between understanding, malice, and oblivion. With Dotty, it's perhaps part of the mystery of her character, a cipher necessarily sustained
SpoilerShow
until the final cathartic shot/shot/not-shot. If she is dissembling, we should assume that she has a mercenary reason for the final outburst of violence, otherwise we can only guess what her goal has ever been. The only one I can fathom is that she wants a fairy-tale marriage to a handsome prince, but then some radical betrayal must have occurred during the final chicken dinner scene for her to desire suddenly to destroy it all (handsome prince included), and that doesn't make sense to me, because she knows her brother wants to run away with her and that he will likely confront Joe about it, and she knows that Joe is a deadly, destructive force to her family. I believe it's more likely that she was simply awash in the emotions of mental illness and abuse--that there can't be another explanation--but if this is the case, her pliancy is a kind of unsatisfying deus ex machina; in other words, she will accommodate the whims of the plot by behaving any possible way at any particular time: abuse victim, aroused sexual partner, bloodthirsty matri-/patricidal killer, innocent child, wily negotiator.

As I have attested on this forum more than once, I am pretty steeled against cinematic violence against women, but for those who are often disposed to resist it, I'm curious why the brutal treatment of Sharla didn't bother some of our more sensitive viewers (of course, Domino comes to mind, given his comments above). Being strangled, having her face crushed and being forced to fellate a fried chicken leg is so brutally incommensurate to the other characters' treatment (even Chris's "whupping"), I wonder why she was singled out, aside from the fact that she's a sexy woman and it might be titillating to some to see her mistreated. Just because it was a chicken leg and not a real joint doesn't mean that it wasn't intended as a rape scene, although I'm sure Friedkin hedged his bets censoriously by exchanging cock for KFC. It is particularly startling given that her equally culpable male partner-in-crime Rex is almost completely elided to the point that we hardly see his face. This elision smacked to me of scenes lost in the editing room (as did Chris's change of heart), but it also emphasizes the gratuitous violence against Sharla. Am I bothered by it? Not really--I suppose I'm far too callous for that--but I can sympathize with a feminist calling foul.

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bottled spider
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#46 Post by bottled spider » Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:14 am

I'm one of those with a low tolerance for disturbing content, and didn't have any interest in this when it came out. I was prompted to watch after seeing Lett's August: Osage County and Friedkin's Birthday Party. In answer to the spoiler-tagged question above, I watched that particular scene on mute. Beyond that, I was primed by Birthday Party /August to regard that scene and others in an absurdist light. Not a completely satisfying explanation, since I usually find ironic presentations of brutality as troubling as straight ones. At any rate the movie didn't bother me at all. Loved it, in fact.

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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#47 Post by hanshotfirst1138 » Tue Nov 22, 2016 12:26 am

I have to say, it's pretty striking that even pushing up on age 80 (past it now) Friedkin remains incredibly provocative and divisive and manages to retain some of that visceral 1970s shock that puts many younger filmmakers to shame.

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Never Cursed
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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#48 Post by Never Cursed » Fri Mar 27, 2020 1:40 am

Ah, this was just a blissfully cathartic watch, my favorite new discovery in quarantine so far. I can certainly understand why this bombed and why most would be repulsed by this examination of a truly vile family dynamic (certainly the most extreme I've encountered this side of an early-period John Waters film), but this is like a great Always Sunny episode in its ability to wring every ounce of humor out of its loathsome principals. I liked seeing the little distorted touches of Mamet (especially the repeated nonsense lines during the Glengarry-adjacent/inspired unraveling of the lie in the third act) but my favorite scene was Marc Macaulay's confrontation of Emile Hirsch after the chase scene, a note-perfect diegetic exploration of how broken and removed from normal societal interaction the main family is. Highly recommended to anyone desperately looking for a film that could have been found "in a garbage dump."

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Re: Killer Joe (William Friedkin, 2012)

#49 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Mar 27, 2020 8:53 am

Nice appreciation, probably my favorite Friedkin, but it’s Letts’ wild conception that keeps me coming back. Whenever I watch this I can’t shake the notion that this is a play (significantly, a first play) written by a man who was a raging alcoholic and drug addict only a month or so away from hitting bottom and getting sober. His internal psychological and physiological chaos is translated into chaos on the page so well, and yet Letts has gone on record saying that he had a realization in writing this that this was ‘him’ divorced from substance use, and a strange kind of identity-actualization that catapulted his own confidence to keep writing.

It’s a great reminder of the power of personal circumstances reflected in work, and also the opposite recovery-inspired principle that one’s characteristics exist outside of substances, a separation of strengths that Letts recognized and held onto immediately while other terrific artists (i.e. von Trier, at least for a while) have gone on record preemptively rejecting and reinforcing maladaptive core beliefs. I realize people probably don’t think of the history of it when watching but this film is incredibly powerful to me as a time capsule of a man on the brink of insanity spilling his mind into art and an empowering focal point of when he acknowledged his skills and came to terms with himself, and the in-between process of resilience that allowed him to find a new way of life.

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