Bleats

Never Forget When JK Rowling Likened Being A Werewolf To Having AIDS

There are many, far better analogies to use and you go with that one?

JK Rowling has done a pretty good job at George Lucas-ing all the goodwill she built up from the Harry Potter series. While she has said questionable things about the series over the years, some funny and some less so, the one that still sticks out was when she compared those suffering from lycanthropy (i.e being a werewolf) in Harry Potter to those suffering from HIV/AIDS in the real world.

The only appropriate reaction.

Back in 2016, Rowling dropped a book of Harry Potter trivia, titled Short Stories from Hogwarts of Heroism, Hardship and Dangerous Hobbies, and it contained a very interesting tidbit about how Remus Lupin, the series’ token werewolf character, was meant to be a metaphor for the stigma faced by those suffering from diseases like HIV/AIDS.

“Lupin’s condition of lycanthropy was a metaphor for those illnesses that carry a stigma, like HIV and AIDS. All kinds of superstitions seem to surround blood-borne conditions, probably due to taboos surrounding blood itself. The wizarding community is as prone to hysteria and prejudice as the Muggle one, and the character of Lupin gave me a chance to examine those attitudes.”

Okay, I see what you’re trying to say there, JK Rowling, but how could you not see the issue with that particular metaphor?

Look, we’re confused too.

HIV/AIDS is a disease spread by bodily fluids that suppresses the body’s immune system. It is something folks have to treat and monitor every day, and there’s still a big of a negative stigma about the disease among uninformed people.

Being a werewolf means you can live a normal life except for whenever there’s a full moon, in which case you’d turn into a vicious, uncontrollable beast who could infect others with lycanthropy by biting others. Oh, and many people in Harry Potter hate werewolves.

I can see how JK Rowling is trying to compare the negative stigma of being a werewolf to the negative stigma of having HIV/AIDS, but using a fictional beast that infects others through biting as a metaphor perhaps isn’t the best idea.

If Rowling wanted to talk about AIDS and the stigma associated with it, she could’ve just given a character AIDS instead of going through the trouble of making someone a werewolf and explaining to fans what it all actually means.

Probably should’ve gone back to the drawing board on this metaphor, JK Rowling.

Unsurprisingly, folks on the internet weren’t too happy about this little metaphor and JK Rowling responded on Twitter by, well, side-stepping the issue a bit before essentially saying “this has been known for a while, you just missed it.”

Perhaps is a good thing she has resorted to revealing oddball facts like how wizards and witches dispose of their bowel movements because god forbid we get another problematic JK Rowling metaphor.

There's A Lot To Be Learned From 'Joker' And Its $1 Billion Earnings Run

Laughing all the way to the bank.

There were a few doubts about the Joker film before its release. Would Joaquin Phoenix put on a great show as the Clown Prince of Crime? Will it be good without Batman in it (technically)? Is it going to even make any money?

Well as it turns out, not only was Joaquin Phoenix fantastic, the Batman-less film was good enough to make a lot of money. Like, a lot of money.

Laughing all the way to the bank.

Warner Bros. (via Entertainment Weekly) has confirmed that Joker will cross the $1 billion worldwide box office mark, making it the first R-rated film in history to do so and the most profitable comic book movie made by virtue of its (relatively) low budget compared to, well, almost every other comic book movie.

It’s honestly astonishing that Joker has reached the $1 billion milestone given all the polarising pre-release buzz but hey, it proves that we know nothing about what the audience wants.

But in saying that though, there are a few lessons to be taken from this little(ish) Joaquin Phoenix-starring vehicle that could shape how Hollywood approaches movie-making going forward.

Who needs China anyway?

The biggest surprise surprise about Joker‘s $1 billion dollar run is how it managed to do so without being released in China, which is arguably the most profitable country for making box-office dollars outside of the U.S.

With a greater number of studios doing deals with Chinese companies and compromising content just to appease China (and its wallet), it’s quite pleasing to see a film be so wildly successful without the need to brown-nose another country.

That certainly bodes well for future films as it demonstrates that you don’t need to suck up to an authoritarian country to make money.

People seem to like stuff that’s different and weird (and good)

If you look at the list of highest-earning films of 2019, all the ones that out-grossed Joker were all easily-digestible family fare.

It’s simply mind-boggling how a violent and unsettling film like Joker could be so successful yet so seemingly commercially unfriendly given how it’s missing Batman, aka its most marketable element.

It goes to show that people dig different films that aren’t aimed at children or to sell toys, and they particularly like them when they’re, you know, actually pretty damn good as well.

That’s a promising lesson for filmmakers: make movies the big studios can’t, offer something different, make sure it’s good (duh) and people will come.

Y’all still love comic book movies

Despite the deluge of comic book films that get dropped upon us every year and the cries of “superhero film fatigue,” Joker‘s success shows that everyone is still frothing on them and will be for the foreseeable future.

Martin Scorsese ain’t going to be happy about this.

'National Treasure' Is The Greatest Example Of A Good-Bad Film

It's the perfect guilty pleasure and/or hangover film.

If you want to see a good-good movie, you go for the deluge of Oscar-bait that gets dropped at the end of the year. Those in the mood for “so bad it’s good” stuff need to watch The Room with a bunch of friends. But if you’re feeling something that’s in the low-effort, “good-bad” range, then look no further than the Nicolas Cage-starring National Treasure.

You heard me.

It’s essentially the Indiana Jones of the 2000s; It’s got a fantastic actor hamming it up as a resourceful historian type, the snarky best friend, some sort of treasure McGuffin and an epic, twist-filled chase to hunt down said treasure McGuffin.

But unlike Indiana Jones, you’d struggle mightily to defend National Treasure as a “good” film.

The plot plays jump rope with being either incomprehensible and/or improbable, the directing and production design is the cinematic equivalent of the colour beige, the action scenes seem like half-arsed rip-offs of better movies, and the characters are ultimately all pretty dumb and no scene-stealing performance from Nicolas Cage can make up for the lackluster writing.

Sorry to break it to you like that, Riley.

Yet despite all those flaws, National Treasure is something you can watch on repeat, whether you’re sick of what’s on Netflix or nursing a brutal hangover, and never get bored. For of its flaws, the film unashamedly leans into the hamminess of it all. It knows it is cheesy and it has fun with it.

That last point is the key thing as to why National Treasure works: the film is just pure, unadulterated fun that doesn’t require you to think too hard, all while maintaining an endlessly optimistic vibe about almost everything, even when the heroes are in dire straits.

It’s quite nice to watch an adventuring protagonist who isn’t weighed down with some sort of dark baggage because no one wants to watch someone be a drag for two hours (unless you’re one of those few people who really like Zack Snyder’s DC films).

And of course, National Treasure gave us one of the best Nicolas Cage memes of the 2000s:

National Treasure‘s brand of dumb yet optimistic fun is why the movie remains endlessly entertaining even as it turns 15 years old. With all the dark stuff the world has gone through in 2019, National Treasure is the perfect form of escapism we all need right now.

Here’s hoping we will get National Treasure 3 sooner rather than later. We’re long overdue a new adventure featuring some dumb treasure hunt and Nicolas Cage saying meme-worthy lines about stealing something important.

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