Oh, Joker, what have you done now? After glorifying incel culture and indiscriminate gun violence, spurring law enforcement to install extra security outside of theaters, and sticking a middle finger up against “far left” and “woke culture” — what more could you possibly to do grate?
Here’s one: Use a song that fell out of favor in 1999 because its creator, Gary Glitter (Paul Gadd) was convicted of possessing child pornography, indecent assault, and the sexual abuse of minors, including sex with a girl under 13. The song, “Rock ’n’ Roll Part 2,” is the backdrop for what even the film’s critics have admitted is one of its finest scenes.
Of course, this means that Gadd — who is currently serving a 16-year prison sentence — will receive a lump sum for the two-minute period in which the recording is used, and probably a lot in royalties.
It’s hard to imagine that this little Easter egg was an oversight on the part of director Todd Phillips, who’s best known for The Hangover movies. Phillips’s Joker is yet another bold exploration of the disaffected white male psyche, but this time, in a nasty twist, he gave Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck an unspecified mental illness and a penchant for casual murder.
So, with this in mind, it’s maybe not surprising that Phillips decided to revive a famous pedophile’s ’70s hit. For a film whose thesis statement seems to begin and end at “fuck society, man,” I guess we should expect as much.