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Face-Off: Tyler Durden vs. The Joker

Mar. 15, 2012by: Paul Huffman
In last weeks Face Off, the general opinion turned out to be that Steven Spielberg just about trumps James Cameron in the director category. This isn't exactly the hardest opinion to agree with, good on ya Steve.

This week we have chosen to focus on arguably (not much) two of the greatest characters ever imagined. Tyler Durden and Heath Ledger's Joker are two guys who laugh at the absurdity of life and the way we live it and have chosen to single someone out to attempt to wake them up. Who had the best methods? Who could you find yourself listening to if you thought about it? In just not caring, they made us care about them. But who do we care about more?

Appearance
Tyler Durden's wardrobe added to the evolution of his character and it did it beautifully. The people involved with the film were methodical in making Tyler's appearance better as the narrator's mental state became more skewed. Most of all I want to note that before Fight Club I would have never looked on a man rocking a pink robe as a bad ass, but damn if Tyler Durden didn't pull it off and maintain the sh*t out of his masculinity. The slight edge goes to Tyler in this category because of the more expanded wardrobe than that of his opponent. Kudos.
I don't know about anyone else but along with the initial fear of Heath Ledger portraying The Joker I was also worried about how his trademark wardrobe and face paint would appear on the screen. I felt the comic book Joker and Jack Nicholson's rendition made it difficult to portray in the world Chris Nolan created. The realistic suit mixed with the gothic, drab, sloppy applied make-up approach to the character blew me away. It's this film and this character in particular that got rid of any doubt I had in Nolan.
Craziness
Two scenes of Fight Club perfectly capture the craziness of Tyler Durden's character for me. One is the scene of his uncontrollable laughter while the owner of the 'Fight Club' building is beating him to a bloody pulp, ironically a bit of the interrogation scene in Dark Knight mirrors that. The second is the scene of the intense car wreck in which Tyler causes in an effort to get the narrator to give up control of the situation and just let go, I couldn't think of a better cinematic way to get that message across. Tyler went to extremes to get his buddy to let go of the material things that ran his life. As crazy as the bastard is maybe we could all use a Tyler Durden in our lives.
Joker stands his ground as the Dark Knight comes racing toward him, not a hint of fear in his eyes, and it true Joker fashion begs Batman to run him down. The look of utter disappointment on Joker's face when Batman didn't oblige speaks volumes about his character, why you no listen Bruce? A short time later Joker thinks that he's won when he is plummeting to his death from a tall ass building. But wait, Joker didn't break him...and this time Joker mumbles his irritation that after all this he failed. Joker is a psychopath who is perfectly ready to lay down his life, and in fact prefers to as the way to prove his point. Intense.
Personal Goal
Tyler had some f*cked up ways of trying to open the eyes of Edward Norton's character, but damn it that's all he was trying to do. His sole purpose became to get a whole army of men to abandon any hint of responsibility they had for their lives and just let go of all the...well...bulls*it that we all know doesn't really matter. In one of the best scenes of the movie Tyler let's us the audience know that we are indeed "not our fucking khakis." I then got rid of every pair of khakis I owned. Mission accomplished.
The Joker was all about chaos, he needed desperately to show Batman and the rest of Gotham how much hypocrisy he saw in the people that lived their lives by some "moral code." To him nobody was beyond seeing how pointless the way society conducted itself really was, and with one man he succeeded. If a creepy bastard came to you in clown makeup and nurses costume and started getting all philosophical would you take some time to listen to what he had to say? Well one all around decent guy did, and well, we know what happened. Persuasive bastard.
Quotes
-"The things you own, end up owning you."

-"We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives."

-"You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world."

-"Fuck damnation, man! Fuck redemption! We're God's unwanted children, SO BE IT!"

-"We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off."

-"Fuck off with your sofa units and strine green stripe patterns, I say never be complete, I say stop being perfect, I say let... lets evolve, let the chips fall where they may."

-"I believe that what doesn't kill you simply makes you...stranger."

-"This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. You truly are incorruptible, aren't you? You won't kill me out of some misplaced sense of self-righteousness. And I won't kill you because you're just too much fun. I think you and I are destined to do this forever."

-"In their last moments, people show you who they really are. So in a way, I know your friends better than you ever did. Would you like to know which of them were cowards?"

-"This city deserves a better class of criminal, and I'm gonna give it to em."

-" If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan".

-"Why so serious?!"

Performances
Tyler Durden marked one of Brad Pitt's best performances. He seemed to let it all go. There were moments when Brad Pitt was simply being Brad Pitt but then all bets were off and he showed us something else. You can tell how deep into the character Pitt was and I don't think many actors were going to be able to pull this character off the way he did. Job well done, you convinced me you were unhinged.
The choice to cast Heath Ledger was met with a lot of criticism, nobody thought he could pull it off and most of us thought Nolan had lost his mind. But then the teasers and trailers hit the web and we all shifted in our sheets a little bit. The rest is history, Ledger stole the whole show in his turn as The Joker. I've heard many wonder if Ledger's performance would have received so much praise had it not been for his untimely demise. I say yes, the quirks he brought to the character, the mannerisms, he just knocked the whole thing out of the park. For a long time I feel it will go unmatched.
IT'S A TIE!
Well, this is an outcome I can't say I didn't see coming on my end. It is hard for me to choose between these two, but that's what you our readers are for. So the tie breaker is up to you, folks. Both are iconic, but which character sticks out in your mind?

If you have an idea that you'd like to see in a future FACE OFF column, feel free to shoot an email to me at paulhuffman@joblo.com with your ideas and some ideas for the critique to base your ideas off. Thank you and in the meantime...

Which director is your favourite?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!
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5:41AM on 03/18/2012

Joker a racist?

Did anyone else notice that all four people we see the Joker kill with his own hands are black? Gamble's flunky, Gamble, the traffic cop, and the cop at the hospital. All while wearing white face paint. Has this been discussed anywhere?
Did anyone else notice that all four people we see the Joker kill with his own hands are black? Gamble's flunky, Gamble, the traffic cop, and the cop at the hospital. All while wearing white face paint. Has this been discussed anywhere?
Your Reply:



10:35PM on 03/17/2012

This is hard to judge...

Because both these characters are "Super-Sane". If I could borrow a quote from the great Rorschach: "[The Comedian] saw the true face of the 20th century and chose to become a reflection, a parody of it. No one else saw the joke, that's why he was lonely." Both Tyler and The Joker saw the world as it truly was. The Joker decided to laugh in its face and Tyler chose to champion it. Who is better can only be a personal choice to how an individual chooses to react to the world. They both had it
Because both these characters are "Super-Sane". If I could borrow a quote from the great Rorschach: "[The Comedian] saw the true face of the 20th century and chose to become a reflection, a parody of it. No one else saw the joke, that's why he was lonely." Both Tyler and The Joker saw the world as it truly was. The Joker decided to laugh in its face and Tyler chose to champion it. Who is better can only be a personal choice to how an individual chooses to react to the world. They both had it right, but everyone must pick their own path in this crazy place we call the world.
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3:10PM on 03/16/2012

have a pair...

Tyler ftw...admit it
Tyler ftw...admit it
Your Reply:



7:20PM on 03/15/2012

Tyler Durden

"God does not like you, in fact god probably hates you."
"God does not like you, in fact god probably hates you."
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7:15PM on 03/15/2012
It warms my heart that this is a tie.
It warms my heart that this is a tie.
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5:31PM on 03/15/2012
And I quote, "This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object."
And I quote, "This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object."
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3:21PM on 03/15/2012

But Tyler is not real?

I love, love love LOVE both movies but I have to give it to the Joker. Granted Ed Norton is real but still....should have been Norton vs Ledger, maybe? Which makes me think Norton could have been a good joker.
I love, love love LOVE both movies but I have to give it to the Joker. Granted Ed Norton is real but still....should have been Norton vs Ledger, maybe? Which makes me think Norton could have been a good joker.
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12:55PM on 03/15/2012
OK...my comment got edited....than unposted...what is going on? I had wriiten earlier that while Tyler is nut, he techincally doesn't even exist. Plus he had a clear agenda. Joke just "wants to watch the world burn" and if he has any agenda at all, it's to have Batman kill him. Tyler maybe cool but Joker is off the charts nuts!
OK...my comment got edited....than unposted...what is going on? I had wriiten earlier that while Tyler is nut, he techincally doesn't even exist. Plus he had a clear agenda. Joke just "wants to watch the world burn" and if he has any agenda at all, it's to have Batman kill him. Tyler maybe cool but Joker is off the charts nuts!
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12:46PM on 03/15/2012

The Joker

Also..did Tyler Durden even kill anyone?? If you go by just body count, Joker takes it all day long.
Also..did Tyler Durden even kill anyone?? If you go by just body count, Joker takes it all day long.
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12:50PM on 03/15/2012
Editing isn't working again....there is no link. I wrote but technically he wasn't even real.
Editing isn't working again....there is no link. I wrote but technically he wasn't even real.
-16
12:44PM on 03/15/2012

In Tyler We Trust

Tyler Durden would kick the jokers ass all day!
Tyler Durden would kick the jokers ass all day!
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12:33PM on 03/15/2012

In Tyler I Trust...

Love both characters, both great performances. Imagine an 'ultimate fight club' film where Ed Norton's character is replaced by Tyler and Tyler's mentor role is taken by the Joker. Mind Blown.
Love both characters, both great performances. Imagine an 'ultimate fight club' film where Ed Norton's character is replaced by Tyler and Tyler's mentor role is taken by the Joker. Mind Blown.
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11:56AM on 03/15/2012

Quotes should go to Durden

It is a tie, but I can relate to Durden a little more than to the Joker, after all the Joker was a murderer, Durden had some redeemable qualities.
It is a tie, but I can relate to Durden a little more than to the Joker, after all the Joker was a murderer, Durden had some redeemable qualities.
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10:11AM on 03/15/2012
I can't believe you guys compared two of the greatest characters of the past 20 years. A tie was a pleasant relief here because I would have been upset if you picked one over the other.
I can't believe you guys compared two of the greatest characters of the past 20 years. A tie was a pleasant relief here because I would have been upset if you picked one over the other.
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6:22AM on 03/15/2012
"do you want to know how I got these scars....Tyler Durden gave them to me"

Both brilliant characters brilliantly portrayed in my opinion the joker wins...pure maniac combined with criminal mastermind and pulled off very well by a controversial choice
"do you want to know how I got these scars....Tyler Durden gave them to me"

Both brilliant characters brilliantly portrayed in my opinion the joker wins...pure maniac combined with criminal mastermind and pulled off very well by a controversial choice
Your Reply:



+26
4:13AM on 03/15/2012

Hardy-har-har!

Hey man I like Tyler Durden's iconic status and all, but if you really want to see a crazy, chaos-driven sonoffabitch, look no more than The Joker. Durden loved anarchy, but he also had a purpose and a goal. He had something to lose, no matter how much he denied it. The Joker, on the other hand, has nothing. He's the wildcard. He's the guy who sits locked-up in Arkham Asylum because he WANTS to be there. He's the guy who laughs while falling off a building. No rules, no motive, no purpose, no
Hey man I like Tyler Durden's iconic status and all, but if you really want to see a crazy, chaos-driven sonoffabitch, look no more than The Joker. Durden loved anarchy, but he also had a purpose and a goal. He had something to lose, no matter how much he denied it. The Joker, on the other hand, has nothing. He's the wildcard. He's the guy who sits locked-up in Arkham Asylum because he WANTS to be there. He's the guy who laughs while falling off a building. No rules, no motive, no purpose, no destination. The Joker takes this one for sure.
Your Reply:



2:42AM on 03/15/2012
A tie?.....Hell no!...The Joker was a trillion times better than Durden. Durden was cool, but no way was he even close to being in the same league as the The Joker.
A tie?.....Hell no!...The Joker was a trillion times better than Durden. Durden was cool, but no way was he even close to being in the same league as the The Joker.
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1:17AM on 03/15/2012

Durden

TDK always frustrates me to no end, for the very same reason it works so beautifully. Fight Club just makes sense. It's completely satisfying while still not being predictable.
TDK always frustrates me to no end, for the very same reason it works so beautifully. Fight Club just makes sense. It's completely satisfying while still not being predictable.
Your Reply:



+44
12:51AM on 03/15/2012
Two great characters from two classic films. It WOULD be a photo finish, but instead of fighting they actually went out drinking together, trashed an electronics store, and then lit piles of money on fire.
Two great characters from two classic films. It WOULD be a photo finish, but instead of fighting they actually went out drinking together, trashed an electronics store, and then lit piles of money on fire.
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10:43AM on 03/15/2012
I see what you did there.
I see what you did there.
3:33AM on 03/15/2012
Agreed, but hilarious if you read this in Fry's voice....
Agreed, but hilarious if you read this in Fry's voice....
12:41AM on 03/15/2012
Love both characters to death (and the actors who portray them), but my pick is for Tyler Durden. I think he is a better character in the better movie. Tyler had better memorable moments than the Joker did in TDK.
Love both characters to death (and the actors who portray them), but my pick is for Tyler Durden. I think he is a better character in the better movie. Tyler had better memorable moments than the Joker did in TDK.
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