For too long have we relied on our little screens, our big screens, our medium screens to entertain us. These screens have poisoned our brains, forcing us to forget what it means to imagine. What it means to close our eyes and conjure up a new reality.
We must return to our roots, to our ancestors sitting outside their cave dwellings, telling each other stories with grunts and snorts, crafting narratives with nothing but their minds.
Let us close our eyes, and let us imagine.
Imagine it's 1992. You're starry-eyed, you're dreaming of your name in lights. You've landed your first role. You're acting opposite Claire Danes, who you think is going to be a great star one day, a great star just like you.
Imagine it's 1998. You, your brother, and your buddies have started a band. Your acting career is starting to take off, but that's incidental to the band. The band has to survive on its own merit. You do not allow your stardom to be used in any promotional material for the band.
Imagine it's 1999. The director of serial killer thriller, "se7en," is calling. He wants you to act opposite Hollywood asanova, Brad Pitt, and Oscar nominee, Edward Norton. He wants you to play Angel Face, a compliment by any means. Your big scene is when Edward Norton almost kills you, hammering his fists into your face, because he wants to "break something beautiful."
Imagine it's 2000. Your next movie has been in development hell for several years now. Its director refuses to recast its star, Christian Bale. Or arguably, not a star, which is precisely the studio's problem. But they don't mind you. You sit by and wait more than a year while the studio does its best to court teenage heartthrob, Leonardo DiCaprio for the role, fire the film's original director, hire a new one, who then quits, along with DiCaprio, forcing the studio to rehire the original director and settle for Bale. But that doesn't matter. You were going to be in this movie anyway. And whomever they cast was going to swing at you with an axe, Huey Lewis and the News playing over your screams of pain. You're on your way.
Imagine it's still 2000. They're asking you to play a heroin addict, in a movie about drug addiction. The role of a lifetime. The director has asked you to abstain from sugar and sex so your cravings look real onscreen. But that's not enough for you. In 1997, for your first lead role, you trained for six weeks as a professional runner to play Steve Prefontaine in his biopic. So for two months of 2000, you live on the streets of New York, losing 28 pounds. Because this is the craft. And you'll do anything for the craft.
Imagine it's 2005 now. Your band's second album, "A Beautiful Lie," has just gone platinum. You don't hide from the limelight anymore. Your face is on the cover of the album. You tell the world the second music video for the album, "The Kill" is directed by an albino Danish man named Bartholomew Cubbins. You are Bartholomew Cubbins.
Imagine it's 2013. You've taken five years away from acting, your band has just closed a lawsuit with your former label, you've released two more albums, you've done multiple world tours. And they're asking you to play a trans-woman with AIDS. You take the role. You say that you sat with the community and learnt from them. No one from the community claims to have heard from you. You don't break character on set. You wax all your hair. You lose weight (again). You win an Oscar. The first man to win for playing a trans-woman. Many point out the film's multiple fictional exaggerations maligning the lived experiences of those with AIDS, despite claiming to be a true story. But that Oscar stays with you.
Imagine it's 2016. DC Comics is calling. They want you to play the Joker. The Clown Prince of Crime. The last person to play the Joker won an Oscar, posthumously. Many, certainly the press, consider his death to be due to his method performance as the Joker. Most people close to him consider those stories to be uncouth exaggerations, hyperbole for the sake of clicks. But you can't be outdone. You send condoms, anal beads, bullets, and a pig's head to your castmates. Or you don't. You can't seem to quite make up your mind about that in interviews. Despite your performance featuring heavily in the trailer, and your time spent in the headlines, you are in no more than 10 minutes of the final cut of the film. Nobody knows where the rest of the footage went.
Imagine it's 2019. You're watching the Oscars. They promised you a Joker and Harley Quinn movie. Harley Quinn gets her own movie without you, with her own entourage. They promised your Joker would have a long shelf-life, appearing in other DC movies. None of those directors is calling. They promised you a Joker movie. And they gave it to Joaquin Phoenix. You're watching the Oscars as Olivia Colman announces Joaquin Phoenix, not you, has just won the Academy Award for Best Actor. Not Best Supporting Actor like yours. He won it for playing the Joker.
Imagine it's, again, 2019. Principal photography is starting for your new movie. It's been one week since the Oscars. You're still feeling burnt. Reports are coming out, revealing that you tried to call Warner Brothers to get Joaquin Phoenix's "Joker" movie cancelled. It's embarrassing. Reports are also coming out about your supposed cult, where you charge people 4 digits to hang out with you on an island. That was meant to be private. But it's okay. You've got this new role, to sink into. A new role you can channel all that fury, rage, and spite into. You're Jared Leto. You can overcome this. It's time for you to become Morbius.
Imagine "Morbius." Or, as Sony would like you to think, Marvel Legend, "Morbius." Imagine a vampire movie, years after vampire movies have gone out of fashion. Imagine a C-List comic book character, usually a member of Spider-man's cavalcade of animalistic foes, now without Spider-man. Imagine one of history's most confusing copyright deals, in which you are co-owned by two studios, existing in one of their shared universes with the potential to hop over into another. Imagine either of those universes being happy to see you.
Imagine making a movie that is so abhorrent, so utterly boring and devoid of any value, that you can make me, who has spent the last 1000 words lampooning Jared Leto, feel bad for Jared Leto. Imagine a film that provides so little to the world other than the employment of its large production crew, that when the end credits finish, and a logo that says "SONY PICTURES A GREENER WORLD: SUSTAINABILITY" slides up the black screen, the only thought is that this could not have been worth the carbon footprint. Imagine having more incomprehensible fight scenes than the "Transformers" movies, despite being just two dudes duking it out, sometimes in slow motion, though the poorly added digital voices speak at normal speed. Imagine a movie that is so without any color or visual spectacle, that the best part about it is the opening animation, which is literally sliding diagonal lines that slowly form the letter M. Imagine that the second best part of the movie is when those colorful animations close out the movie, once again forming the silhouette of the letter M. Imagine that the third best part is one of the only scenes without Jared Leto. Imagine that the most joy I got from the movie was when someone in the row in front of me meowed at the cat that was introduced at the 70-minute mark of the movie. Imagine a scene from your trailer only appears in your second post-credits scene, and only makes sense because it is set up by your FIRST post-credits scene. Imagine the most sexless aromantic kiss scene you've ever seen, now imagine it's even worse than that, and imagine it starts with Jared Leto beckoning the female lead to "come closer. No, closer". Imagine that that female lead is then killed within 10 minutes of said kiss, to motivate Morbius into action. Imagine Uncharted was not the worst movie I watched this year. Imagine being a movie so bad that you make me wonder if I should even bother anymore.
You can open your eyes now.