When I woke up this morning to a dull, worrying pain in my ass bones due to my first bike ride in over a decade undertaken in a conscious desire to raise my middle finger to the MTA’s fare hike as well as an unconscious desire to evolve into a healthy yet smug Brooklynite, I did not realize this precise ache was not to be today’s nadir of physical discomfort or psychological misery—nor did I realize I would spend my crestfallen afternoon writing about ComicCon, but here we are.
I didn’t feel I had anything substantial to say about ComicCon. After all, there were never any plans to screen the first footage of Ben Wheatley’s adaptation of J.G. Ballard’s High-Rise. As far as I am aware, nobody organized a panel composed of all the principle figures involved in the restoration of Orson Welles’ unfinished The Other Side of the Wind either. Finally, and please correct me if I’m mistaken, Peter Greenaway didn’t follow the Deadpool panel to announce the death of cinema yet again before reminding us of his impending suicide after he celebrates his eightieth birthday—he won’t but it’s a helluva headline.
So why, despite my total lack of interest in ComicCon, am I writing about ComicCon? In order to answer this question, I need to ask myself another question: Why has the grating strobe effect of one clickbait ComicCon headline after another driven me into a quarry of despair, self-doubt, and sewage? Moreover, why is every online forum discussion of any Suicide Squad besides the Judean People’s Front clogging and congealing into a malignant brain tumor of nerd spunk? Why? Would ComicCon do this to me? Why?
I blame Jesse Eisenberg, that dry nebbish who played a spiky Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network and performed expertly last year in Richard Ayoade’s underrated The Double. For those of you who care instead about meaningful issues, Eisenberg is playing Lex Luthor via Crispin Glover in the follow-up to a 2013 film I found so wretched, vile, and vegetative I had to park a baseball bat inside my television screen for fear of dropping my ball bag into a garbage disposal as a cheerful alternative. Zack Snyder directed this film. Zack Snyder’s understanding of Western cinematic language boils down to BDSM wardrobes and the slow-motion feature on your Blu-Ray player—except a lot less arousing and a lot more torturous.
Of course, when I say torturous, I am comparing sitting through Watchmen, Sucker Punch, and that 2013 film to the Spanish Inquisition, the Bataan Death March, and the Abu Ghraib detention center, respectively. Seriously, the sequence of Nite Owl and Silk Spectre slapping their genitals together like table tennis rackets against a pig carcass while Snyder shoehorned Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” to accentuate a joke too juvenile even for Austin Powers can only be described as waterboarding. Thus, Zack Snyder is the cinematic facsimile of war criminal Dick Cheney and GOP fluffer Sean Hannity; Snyder, too, has blood on his hands. When he wasn’t waterboarding Alan Moore’s vision, Snyder was force-feeding Superman fans sustenance through the tiny, barbaric tube Guantanamo Bay’s untried inmates horrifically endured during the 2014 hunger strike. Not even Kal-El himself could withstand a meal of kryptonite served through a Guantanamo tube. Why Zack Snyder isn’t sharing a cell with McG for his crimes against cinema is beyond me. It fills me with shame and revulsion to call myself a cinephile when this animal is unveiling new films and living it large at ComicCon. We cannot, and will not, as citizens of the world, stand by while the state-sponsored torture that is Zack Snyder’s film career goes unpunished.
Now, before you report me to Tumblr’s Guardians of Truth and Social Justice, I’d like to take a moment to explain the above paragraph. In order to illustrate my negative feelings about a major Hollywood director for whose works I do not care, I employed the following three literary devices: hyperbole, rhetoric, and irony. I don’t actually think of Zack Snyder’s films as implements of state-sponsored torture. I am sure he is a nice man who possesses safely liberal views and contains not one violent bone in his body. I just thought I would place this disclaimer in the middle of my essay in case any readers were becoming flustered or confused. You see, internet, sometimes words can be used to express concepts, ideas, and emotions that run contrary to their literal meanings.
But I still blame Jesse Eisenberg for my pain. I blame him because his candid use of hyperbole, rhetoric, and irony to express his feelings about being shrieked at by a cabal of cosplay-wearing banshees combined with the subsequent manufactured backlash have synthesized to form the straw to shatter the camel’s spine, for it was in my Wednesday morning awareness of this non-story – generated to increase traffic for the increasingly irrelevant blogosphere – that my misery peaked, my distress boosted, and even my throbbing ass bones could no longer compete in the agony fun run.
I blame Jesse Eisenberg for my pain because his pain became my pain. Within one cosmic flash, I saw myself peering through his walnut eyes. I saw him come to the sudden realization that he is no longer a human being. He is a DC Comics copyright and we as consumers own stock options of his soul. Under the terms of his contract, he is obliged to pretend to enjoy every moment of the grotesque traveling carnival for which he signed up because he presumably earns enough money in revenue to deserve the kind of insightful analysis any dweeb can make after watching five seconds of a performance.
See, Jesse Eisenberg™ is the latest in a series of corporate acquisitions of once-promising actors to realize he is no longer a human entity who makes mistakes and experiences standard bodily functions. Because he signed on to play a character who regularly appears in comic books, he can no longer be differentiated from the fictional characters he is paid to portray. His qualifications and years of experience are no longer enough to qualify him as the right man for the job; he must also receive the Universal Fanboy Seal of Approval first. As Marvel copyrights Chris Evans and Jeremy Renner discovered last spring when they publicly made a bawdy locker room joke to each other, everyone must like you at all times or else you are in violation of contract. Thus, all of Jesse Einsenberg’s™ common, human-like attributes must be stripped away and replaced with one standard automated function: sell. Anything beyond the standard sales pitch is in danger of spoiling the brand, and if he’d like to work with David Fincher again, he had better keep selling lest he be replaced by the modern day Android equivalent of Dick Sargent. Not even Mephistopheles himself could’ve concocted a bargain so demeaning and sick.
Then, as I pondered his pain points, it dawned on me: Jesse Eisenberg™ is not the only member of the public under contract. Everyone I know and love with a social media account is under contract, too. They’ve all signed lifetime deals with DC, Marvel, Lucasfilm, and even Quentin Tarantino. Think about that. Quentin Tarantino owns your soul and can do whatever sordid deeds he likes with it!
Suddenly, it all made horrifying sense. I finally realized why the new Spider-Man is six-years-old. As soon as somebody logs onto Twitter to complain about the tiny child who won a competition to play Spider-Man as his dying wish, he/she was under contract to raise awareness about the all-new Baby Spider-Man franchise. It didn’t matter whether the comments were negative or positive because all comments contributed to winning the daily trending hashtag wars.
But not I.
I’m not under contract because I didn’t write about ComicCon until I chose to vent spleen about it days later. I’m above the fray. The lone gunman. I’m Burgess Meredith in that Twilight Zone episode—no, not that one, the other one. I’m unplugged because I like serious art from obscure filmmakers who don’t direct superhero movies for manchildren.
After all, I only share content about intelligent subjects. For example, just the other day, I penned a groundbreaking trailer breakdown for Indiewire over which of Tom Hardy’s dual performances in Legend is more likely to win an Oscar. My conclusion will reduce you to tears. It’s a real mic drop. (Hint: It’s the gay man with the glasses.) I also alerted my Facebook friends to an insightful video essay from Press Play comparing the collected works of Wes Anderson to the news footage of the OJ Simpson Bronco chase. Nobody clicked on it so I’m still in the clear. And as soon as I wrap up this essay and upload it to the PopChomp dashboard, I’m going to get cracking on a comprehensive movie list I’ve always wanted to see on Taste of Cinema: Top 15 Unrelated Japanese Films From The 20th Century That According To Possible Worlds Theory Could Have Starred Chris Pratt In Other Possible Worlds But Instead Feature Japanese Actors In The Real World That Are Worth Your Time. I hope you like it. It required no time, energy, or thought whatsoever.
Oh, by the way, on behalf of MGM and EON, I hope the new James Bond movie is good because Skyfall was a firecracker of a film. Also, HBO would like me to point out that season two of True Detective is starting to grow on me and isn’t half as bad as everyone else is making out.
Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m under contract, too. But hey, I’m different. I’m not like the others, right? Besides, a man’s gotta eat. I’m sure they’ll send me residual checks one day. I hope, I pray. If not, I’ll blame it on Jesse Eisenberg™. That pain in my ass bones.