Joaquin Phoenix as Arthur Fleck, aka “Joker”, disturbed and disgraced ex-party clown
Gotham City, Fall 1981
Release Date: October 4, 2019
Director: Todd Phillips
Costume Designer: Mark Bridges
Could there be a more appropriate character to focus on for April Fool’s Day than the Joker?
When I was growing up, the only two actors who had prominently portrayed Gotham City’s psychopathic prankster were Cesar Romero in the classic ’60s series and Jack Nicholson, who received top billing despite not playing the title role in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman. Since then, we’ve seen a handful of actors cycle through the iconic role, beginning with Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight (2008), a few appearances by Ben Affleck and Jared Leto, and most recently a smaller part performed by Barry Keoghan in The Batman (2022).
Joaquin Phoenix received the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in the eponymous role in Joker, a reimagined origin story that pays significant homage to Martin Scorsese’s character studies like Taxi Driver (1976) and The King of Comedy (1983)—both starring Robert De Niro, who would appear in Joker—as well as twists of social commentary and themes from Death Wish (1973) and Fight Club (1999).
Many loved it and many hated it, but there’s little doubting Phoenix’s effectiveness intensity chronicling the troubled Arthur Fleck’s transformation from a desperate wannabe stand-up comedian who feels let down by society into a chaotic killer who unintentionally inspires anarchic revolution and class warfare. Continue reading
Tommy Wiseau as Johnny, a “misunderstood” banker and Lisa’s future husband
San Francisco, Fall 2002
Film: The Room
Release Date: June 27, 2003
Director: Tommy Wiseau
Costume Designer: Safowa Bright-Asare
It’s April Fools’ Day! The perfect time to switch gears from looking at timeless style in great movies and TV shows… and reflect on extremely questionable “style” from a movie celebrated as an unmitigated cinematic disaster.
The Room is nearly two hours of brain-numbing non-sequiturs, unresolved “plot” threads and an inconsistent narrative, more screen time for a single football than The Longest Yard, Any Given Sunday, and Rudy combined, and writing that fails to compare with a monkey pounding on a keyboard… and yet this bizarre melodrama has racked up one of the most loyal cult followings in American cinema. Its nonsensical dialogue (“Do you understand life? Do you?!”) has permeated pop culture and sent packs of people to midnight screenings each year, armed with plastic spoons and questions and praise for the film’s eccentric auteur, Tommy Wiseau. Continue reading
Larry David as himself, a neurotic comedy writer
Los Angeles, Fall 2000
Series: Curb Your Enthusiasm
Episode: “The Pants Tent” (Episode 1.01)
Air Date: October 15, 2000
Director: Robert B. Weide
Creator: Larry David
Costume Designer: Wendy Range Rao
Curb Your Enthusiasm isn’t a show often celebrated for its sartorial style, but the trouser-centric faux pas that drives the plot of its first episode makes Larry David the perfect subject for BAMF Style’s annual April Fool’s Day post this year. Continue reading
Sacha Baron Cohen as Борат Сагдиев (Borat Sagdiyev), oblivious, bigoted, and hapless “Kazakh” TV journalist
New York City to Hollywood, Spring 2005
Film: Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan
Release Date: August 4, 2006
Director: Larry Charles
Costume Designer: Jason Alper
Fewer people are more willing to look foolish in public than Sacha Baron Cohen, so it’s a very fitting tribute that he should follow Will Ferrell for BAMF Style’s annual April Fool’s Day post.
Baron Cohen had long been popular in England and among HBO viewers for his characters of wannabe gangsta Ali G, flamboyant and judgmental Austrian fashionista Brüno, and the pleasantly racist Kazakh TV journalist Borat Sagdiyev. Almost ten years after first introducing a version of Borat on England’s F2F, Borat (or Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan to be more accurate) hit American theaters by storm.
Below the obvious gross-out humor (ugh… hotel fight…), Borat presented an ugly side of America in a strongly satirical light. It’s easy to laugh at the oblivious reporter for blatantly stupid racist opinions, but it becomes harder to laugh when Americans willingly share his ignorance. While some people were antagonized for the sake of comedy, many – a car dealer, a gun shop owner, and a trailer full of frat guys come to mind – showcased their own prejudices. Although it led to a litany of legal issues against the movie, these scenes are important because they force the viewer to realize that only one of the racists on screen is an actor. Continue reading
Will Ferrell as Ron Burgundy, pompous and hairy San Diego news anchor
San Diego, Summer 1973
Film: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
Release Date: July 9, 2004
Director: Adam McKay
Costume Designer: Debra McGuire
Ron Burgundy needs no introduction. Happy April Fool’s Day. Continue reading
(Image violently stolen from @robdelaney‘s Twitter account. Please follow Rob as he has won the Internet for about three consistent years in a row.)