Last week my spirit-brother, DELICIOUS MCCUNE, took off his shirt and put on his sunglasses and leather jacket and braved hell’s hot breath for all us sinners . . . by which I mean he bore witness to the newly-released four-hour cut of JUSTICE LEAGUE live and in technicolor for the whole world to see.
When he informed me of his commitment to perform this miserable ritual, I said, “Man, you wanna watch that thing again? It almost lobotomized us the first time!” McCune was torn asunder when I said this, because he had completely forgotten we had, in fact, seen it together with our spirit-brother Swampy Kerwin back in 2017 at the Alameda Theatre & Cineplex on the island of Alameda in Oakland, California. We had gone, the three of us, out of pure self-loathing. We had felt like punishing ourselves for some reason, and decided to brave those godless waters together. It is the only movie I’ve ever seen in a theater where I just gave up and pulled out my phone and started texting people until the lights came up. McCune fell asleep at some point but I know he at least saw the first hour. Thing is, I only really remember the drive there and back again . . . the movie itself, as McCune has descrived such things, is “anti-memory”. A good movie is generous and it gives you things. These types of movies, the ones that induce anti-memory, only take things away from you, never to return. What they leave behind is agony.
Up until last week, I had mercifully forgotten about the existence of JUSTICE LEAGUE altogether, so powerful was its ability to destroy itself inside my mind. To hear those words again recalled only the particular sadness I had felt as we left the theater that night in 2017. What had actually occurred in the film, what was at stake, the dreams and motivations of these characters and their ultimate fates . . . these are things I would not be able to recount even if I stood before a grand jury facing the death penalty. They had been swallowed up into the eternal darkness of mind, if they had ever even existed to begin with, and become anti-memory. All I knew was that I would rather eat part of my own neck than fall dick-first into a four-hour-long version of this god damn thing. But I did not want my brother to bear the wilderness alone, so of course I tuned in out of solidarity. It was sheer misery from beginning to end, but we had us a good ol time anyway.
I took some screenshots:
Man, just the most embarrassing trash you could ever lay eyes on. And like, it’s not just that it’s insultingly stupid, or whatever . . . it’s that it doesn’t actually contain even the simplest, most barebones elements of storytelling?? Were these guys out to lunch the day the rest of the class learned what a basic fucking story arc is??? Yes, this is a movie made for children and adults who wish they were still children, but even as a thing you Look At and are supposed to be Entertained By, it fails to thread scenes together coherently, and is thus this tedious slog of meaningless images we, the audience, are incapable of finding compelling. It almost feels totally random what order anything is in . . . like it doesn’t even matter. Even a bad movie can achieve a sort of internal logic, but JUSTICE LEAGUE is incapable of even this. You start to feel sick gazing upon this thing as you realize that they spent $300 MILLION DOLLARS to say ABSOLUTELY NOTHING over the course of FOUR HOURS. This movie cost more than the GDP of like every country in South America, and, behold, it is the film equivalent of cereal. It exists, I guess, for the sake of existing. That’s pretty pathetic dude!!!
And why would we intentionally watch something so heinous and hatefully empty? Something that was obviously created out of pure contempt for its own audience? The most charitable way I can describe our intentions is that we wanted to better understand Whatever The World Is Now. You gotta know who the enemy is, man. At least to some degree, the kind of entertainment a society produces is a lens through which we can view society itself. Right?? If we produce and consume sick entertainment / art / whatever, then maybe we, as a society, are sick. OK??
Anyway, I transcribed some of McCune’s musings that, to me, represent a grand summation of this strange shared experience:
We’re watching something that, in real life—this occurs. People die, but they’re part of horrific accidents. Parents lose children, children lose parents, they wallow in suffering for sometimes days at a time before expiring. And we’re watching this inside of a comic book movie where you feel nothing for these terrible incidents that actually happen, because they are used like a condom to fuck a story. Well really, to penetrate your mind, to pull the trigger in the audience’s mind, that this is serious. They use it to make you feel engaged with it. They use your humanity against you to facilitate their poor, disgusting, weak, and quite frankly, pathetic “works”. Makes me sick, man. It makes me sick.
Whenever I call this stuff baby food—that is entirely accurate. Because baby food is a ready-made substance to be digested for early lifeforms, as to not aggravate the digestive system, but supplying them with an adequate amount of nutrition. In this case an adequate amount of nutrition for a movie is something to look at. The easily-digestible part is just, in this case, is nonsense. So you can just see it and it’s just like, “Don’t worry, turn your brain off, just enjoy, like, the weird images.” Unfortunately I’m the incorrect sort of person where it’s like—I would like meaning in my art and my images because that’s the only reason that they’re worthwhile being engaged in.
Man, you know what I really hate? I really hate when I read doughy idiots talk about, like, “Comic books are just like what the Greeks used to do, which is create a pantheon of gods that then they told stories about, and then passed down generations of wisdom—uuooHHH—through myth—uuooHHH.” Are you kidding me? Don’t you dare insult the forebears of fucking Western Civilization and the current world we live in, by pretending that this stuff has in any way, shape, or form—the interest, heft, symbolism, or meaning of Old Myth. OK? Seriously. I don’t know why I’m watching this dumbass story. I’m so upset.
I am shivering with fear about the generations of humans that find this stuff engaging.
If you wanna watch the whole thing: here it is! I cannot imagine it would be much fun to watch not-live, because of course part of whatever we got out of it (???) came from the camaraderie of hating it together. But if you got four hours you want to toss into a screaming black hole, have at it. All I can say is . . . pack a diaper before you honk on down to Baby Town!!