Aya vs. The Big Boys

AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS: TAXI DRIVER/JOKER + STEP BROTHERS

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When you’re living in a society, Saturdays are for the boys!!!

On this week’s offerings, Kevin and Aya get a lil silly and welcome their most esteemed guest yet. This is a real show, folks! This! Is! Podcasting! As always, the most direct way to support AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS is by joining the Merry-Go-Round Patreon, but if money’s tight, we completely get it—the free option is rating, reviewing, and subscribing on whichever podcast service you fancy. Specifically, rating us on Apple Podcasts is beyond helpful. Believe it or not, a simple click can help boost our visibility by bounds: the wonderful horrors of the digital era!

Alright, let’s get started with one of the most deranged double features of all time: Todd Phillips’ JOKER and Martin Scorsese’s TAXI DRIVER.

TAXI DRIVER is obviously a GOAT movie. It’s difficult for either Aya or Kevin to disagree. To view it as an endorsement of Travis Bickle’s behavior feels like a willful misreading, but, oh buddy, there is little-to-no way to misread what Todd Phillips suggests with JOKER’s titular psycho. Kevin hates this movie. Like, “JOKER is the worst film of the 2010s” hates this movie. The kid even went as far as making a video essay about it the week of the film’s release. Yes, he is and was single, duh. Aya refused to see one of the biggest films of 2019 in theaters because of the surrounding threats of incel violence that clouded its release. A dump truck of Oscar nominations and a permanent spot in HBO’s daily rotation later, JOKER has become the radicalizing calling card for many a white anarchist hoping to exploit the social upheaval of summer 2020 for their own pursuit of devoted cosplay. To gain a better insight into JOKER’s explosive ending, the crew is joined by Los Angeles activist and organizer Albert Corado, a freedom-fighting icon who’s aiming for a city council run in 2022. Merry-Go-Round has long been a supporter of Corado, with many of our writers having attended July 2020’s March for Mely, and it’s nothing but an honor and a treat to have him join us to talk about how JOKER’s depiction of grassroots direct action is nothing but white liberal posturing by men woefully out-of-touch with contemporary activism.

On this episode of AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS, the group dives into Aya’s very first viewing of TAXI DRIVER and JOKER, comparing Scorsese’s authenticity with Phillips’ artifice, exploring JOKER as a prequel to a movie where grown-up Batman beats an elderly Joker’s ass, and, yet again, discussing how badly they want to suck Robert De Niro’s co-

Step Brothers

Okay, let’s get fuckin SILLY.

STEP BROTHERS is probably your ex-boyfriend’s favorite comedy. If it’s not, write in and we’ll try to figure out why he was lying to you. Make no mistake, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly might be one of the most electric pairings in all of screen comedy, but STEP BROTHERS is eerily prescient, portraying a brand of male stuck in arrested development that would reach its fully (d)evolved form in the late 2010s. In 12 years, Adam McKay’s insane romp went from a cartoon to a vision of at least three-to-seven people you, unfortunately, personally know and thousands you’re forced to scroll past on Twitter every day. Some say CHILDREN OF MEN is the dystopian picture that predicted our current social predicament, but, Your Honor, may we propose STEP BROTHERS, aka The Birth of the MCU Stan, instead?

On this episode of AYA VS. THE BIG BOYS, the duo dives into Aya’s very first viewing of Adam McKay’s STEP BROTHERS, with observations on why the immature comedy may not have aged well in a society that’s normalized Yoda graphic tees, the highs and lows of improv-heavy comic anarchy, and deciding just how badly they want to suck Mary Steenburgen’s co-

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Kevin Cookman
Kevin Cookman is a Film Editor for Merry-Go-Round Magazine. Deserted in a video store as an infant, Kevin was raised on Fulci, Tarantino, Kubrick, and Whoppers. Now he's a graduate of Chapman University who acts as editor for Merry-Go-Round on the side: what a success story.

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