If the movie doesn’t make you roll your eyes, the director will.
Todd Phillips, best known for directing the Hangover trilogy and the forthcoming Joker, has lashed out at cultural progress, claiming that if he can’t rely on toxic masculinity then he doesn’t know how to be funny anymore.
In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Phillips lashes out at “woke culture,” citing it as the reason he has transitioned from directing comedies to dramas.
“Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” Phillips said. “There were articles written about why comedies don’t work anymore–I’ll tell you why, because all the f*cking funny guys are like, ‘F*ck this sh*t, because I don’t want to offend you.'”
Phillips continued: “It’s hard to argue with 30 million people on Twitter. You just can’t do it, right? So you just go, ‘I’m out.’ I’m out, and you know what? With all my comedies — I think that what comedies, in general, all have in common — is they’re irreverent. So I go, ‘How do I do something irreverent, but f*ck comedy? Oh I know, let’s take the comic book movie universe and turn it on its head with this.’ And so that’s really where that came from.”
Phillips has come under criticism in recent years for the misogynistic viewpoints in the Hangover series, and the vulgar homophobia in the films.
The director has also been targeted as a purveyor of toxic masculinity. For example, one character refers to another’s dentist as “Doctor F*ggot,” and the line is meant to land laughs. The series also features a gay, Asian wannabe gangster named Mr. Chow (played by actor Ken Jeong), who embodies every negative gay and Asian stereotype.
The second film in the series also features a transgender stripper who has anal sex with one of the movie’s leads, played by Ed Helms. Not only does the film portray its sole transgender character as a sex worker, but her encounter with Helms’ character also becomes a running gag of sorts, as the characters make fun of him for enjoying anal sex with a trans person.
Oh, and of course, the series uses the word “gay” as a constant negative insult.
Todd Phillips’ grousing over how his movies haven’t aged well–and his blaming cultural progress for that change in perception–comes just before the opening of his film Joker, which has generated much conversation on the film festival circuit for its pernicious depiction of violence.
Survivors of the 2012 Aurora, Colorado cinema massacre have sent a letter to parent studio Warner Bros. with concerns over the violence in the film, and calling on the studio to stop donating money to gun organizations or politicians that refuse to support gun control.
Furthermore, the US Army has distributed literature to service members advising them of how to handle active shooters that might open fire during the film.
Phillips, for his part, used the controversy as an occasion to attack the left, and referred to the concerns that the film might spark violence as “a commodity.”