Movies

Jojo Rabbit

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Who do you invite to see a black comedy about the Third Reich, one that opens with Rebel Wilson and Sam Rockwell teaching prepubescent campers how to burn books and blow stuff up with grenades?

Jewish director Taika Waititi tackles the story of Jojo Betzler, a 10-year-old boy at a Hitler Youth camp, whose invisible friend—Hitler himself—accompanies him everywhere. Jojo's moral paradigm is complicated when he realizes his mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their house and he develops a crush on the fugitive.

The film is playful and dark, with a well-placed David Bowie dance scene to pull you out of the sinking misery that sets in during the last act. Through an indoctrinated child's eyes, Waititi reminds viewers that blind allegiance to any regime only makes sense if your worldview is too simple to match reality.

It's nowhere near as timeless as The Producers when it comes to making workable comedy from hideous evil, but Jojo Rabbit shows that a politically risky premise can pay off if the storyteller is smart and skilled enough. At a time when we cancel artists based on drive-by descriptions of their work ("Nazi satire with Hitler as a little kid's invisible friend"), this worthwhile film reminds us that doing so means losing our ability to poke fun at history's worst monsters.

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  1. As long as we never forget that Nazis are Socialists.

    (Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei) or NSDAP in German.

    1. Some form of collectivism to be sure, but not Marxist. “Socialist” is a very broad word that has lost all it’s meaning.

      1. Not all Socialists are Marxists.

        Some Socialists are Nazis. Some Socialists are Italian Fascists. Some Socialists are Democrats. Some Socialists are Progressives.

  2. “Waititi reminds viewers that blind allegiance to any regime only makes sense if your worldview is too simple to match reality.”

    Somehow, I doubt this is meant to apply to Environmentalism or Intersectionality

  3. Damn some people are so focused on hating each other that they can’t see comedy or parody right in front of them. I was having mixed feelings about this — Hollywood is so inbred and self-centered and full of cancel culture that I don’t expect any good political commentary from them. So I checked a bunch of reviews on different web sites, and it is amazing how many people reject this movie because it is “sick” to pretend there is anything about Nazis or Trump worth parodying or even making jokes about. That sold me — if this upsets the snowflakes so much just for existing, let alone whether it’s any good, it’s worth trying.

    1. It was very good, both I and my teenage son really liked it. The movie was much more nuanced than I expected and went beyond the ‘racists are bad’ over-the-top parody I was dreading. There’s quite a lot to unpack.

  4. Best film of 2019 after Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

    1. It was pretty good but I dont know about Best Film of 2019.

      Getting ready to watch Joker and it might be Best. The movie 1917 might be good too.

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