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My Favorite Movies- "Jojo Rabbit" (2019)

***SPOILERS AHEAD***

I didn't plan for this to be the case, but I've never written multiple blogs about Taika Waititi's filmography. I just find his journey as a Director so fascinating. People have turned on him so fast. Maybe that's fair, maybe it isn't. But I figured for this series, I'd take some time out to talk about the film that won him an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay, and that's "Jojo Rabbit."

2019 was a phenomenal year for cinema. This will not be the last 2019 film I write a blog about. Obviously, "Parasite" won Best Picture, but you had "1917," "Once Upon A Time in Hollywood," and "Joker" just to name a few. It was a stacked Oscar race. "Jojo Rabbit" was easily amongst the best of them. This premise could've gone sideways. The idea of making a comedy set in Nazi Germany in World War II was a huge risk. It feels like a movie that Mel Brooks would've rolled the dice on back in the 70s. Taika Waititi was open about the fact that Mel Brooks's approval of this film made the entire journey of making it worthwhile, and I understand why.

The number one thing you look for in any comedy is humor. This movie is very funny. There are some excellent jokes, great sight gags, and good callbacks. One of the big reasons this won Best Original Screenplay was that it features some very heavy subject matter for a comedy movie, yet it never feels tonally inconsistent. It's serious when it needs to be serious and hilarious when it needs to be hilarious. 

The most important thing that any movie needs to do is establish character. Why should I bother watching your movie if you don't care about what's going on? This movie does a marvelous job of completing its circles. Every character has an arc, even some of the minor characters. Sam Rockwell is not in this movie that often, but even he has an incredible scene at the end. 

I am somebody who abides by the belief that Hollywood is less original and less unique than I've ever been, but something like "Jojo Rabbit" reminds me of what modern film can be. Yes, it pushes the envelope. But for a movie that was deemed somewhat controversial when it came out, I've never viewed this film that way. Despite it being filled with a lot of adult humor, there is something remarkably wholesome about it at its core. It's a story from a filmmaker who genuinely had something to say. He put that vision on screen. He executed it to near perfection.  It's a textbook example of a comedy that works within the confines of our very heightened culture in 2023. I absolutely recommend that you give it a watch.